Every time I see The Women (screenplay by Anita Loos), I marvel at the innate intelligence of their sex: sure, women aren't REALLY that catty, vicious or vain, but the sophistication of the movie is remarkable - simply because women really have had to survive under the cloak of self-made machismo men have imagined.
Gay men have always looked to strong or beleaguered women for inspiration and support. At the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, a showing of The Women, Mildred Pierce*, or Auntie Mame guarantees a packed house overflowing with notepads at the ready. Even the camp classic Valley of the Dolls exudes a kind of female machismo.**
Yes, there is a war on women. But it's the same war women have been in for the past 2000 years in what is laughingly called "Western Civilization." In The Women, it's Miriam "Vanities" Arrons (Paulette Goddard) who puts it best: "A woman's compromised from the day she's born." And in movies like The Women, we're made to realize just what good, intelligent, witty warriors they are.
More power to them.
* Often referred to as "Mildred Fierce".
** Helen Lawson: "They drummed you out of Hollywood so you come crawling back to Broadway, Well, Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope."