Why Does Every Female Action Hero End Up In A Tank Top?

Designed by Tristan Offit; images Rex/Shutterstock
In 1988, Detective John McClane repaired to a bathroom in Century City's Nakatomi Plaza in order to freshen up. He removed his socks, shoes, and button-up shirt, stripping down to just a white sleeveless undershirt. Then all hell broke loose, forcing him to fight off terrorists while barefoot and clad in nothing but his increasingly filthy bro-tank.
In the 28 years since Die Hard came out, every single male action hero has been trying to follow in Bruce Willis' bloodied, glass-flecked footsteps. Female action heroes, meanwhile, have merely been left with his wardrobe — only tighter, and with shoes. Heaven forbid girlfriend should take off her 6-inch Louboutins to run away from a bloodthirsty dinosaur or anything.
According to Hollywood, all women — the hot ones, anyway — are best outfitted with cleavage-enhancing camisoles designed to keep the sexual tension as taut as their abs. Danger strikes, and off go the hoodies, cardigans, flannels, and silk designer blouses. It's tank time. Feel free to get sweaty and/or soaking wet, ladies.
Jennifer Lawrence's character in Passengers, Aurora, conveniently remembered to pack one for her spaceship slumber. When shit goes down, Aurora is reduced to running around in her white tank, blood and sweat dripping, and her chest heaving. Co-star Chris Pratt, meanwhile, hides his guns under a basic grey T-shirt. In Jurassic World, he even got a long-sleeved denim shirt and a freaking vest.
In fact, with rare exceptions like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys — Michael Bay's eagerness to see rippling muscles and gleaming shoulders knows no bounds — most male action heroes get to hide under badass leather jackets or sensible waffle-knit, cotton-blend henleys. If it's a women, though, she's more often than not flashing her biceps and boobs, a trail of sweat snaking down her chest.
Maybe it's comfortable, but so are Lululemon yoga pants, and you don't see Charlize Theron and Zoe Saldana fighting bad guys in those. Alas, a woman can save the world, but she still can't score some sleeves.
Don't believe us? Take a look and see if you note anything familiar.

More from Movies

R29 Original Series