The Wild Feminine: Kissin' Kate Barlow

This post contains spoilers from the movie "Holes". If you haven't seen it, and would like to watch it before reading this post, feel free to do so!


If you didn't have the immense pleasure of growing up watching the movie "Holes" at every sleepover, I must admit, I feel for you.


Holes has to be one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. In fact, I even forced Cain to watch it over quarantine. He loved it.


It's a story of love, loss, friendship, and fate. Things that we can all relate to.


And while I'd love to just recap the entire movie for you and discuss my decades long crush on "Zero" 😍, instead, we're going to be focusing on the woman who I believe is responsible for the take-no-prisoners side of my personal femininity: Kissin' Kate Barlow. And what happens to our feminine spirit when we experience true love and true heartbreak and loss.




PART 1: THE LOVE STORY

Miss Katherine Barlow is a school teacher in a small town in Texas who is the apple of every man in town's eye. Or, in this case, the peach 🍑. She has a gentle spirit and gentle curls to match. Her soft, feminine demeanor endears her to adults and her school children alike as she talks with her charming, southern twang and swishes from side to side in her post Civil War Era style dresses selling, her town famous canned peaches.


Katherine is the picture of Western femininity. A blonde-haired, blue eyed school teacher with a kind soul.


Perhaps a soul that was too kind.


Katherine falls in love with Sam "The Onion Man". A man with a horse named Mary-Lou, who swears his onions can heal a multitude of ailments. From hair loss to body aches, Sam sells his onions across town. And when Katherine complains to him that her schoolhouse needs work, he generously offers to help fix it up, for a can of her peaches.


She reads poetry in the schoolhouse while he hammers away fixing windows and doors, and soon their love begins to blossom.


There's just one problem, Sam is Black.

Unsurprisingly, the racist men of the town take issue with the fact that the innocent, sweet and beautiful Katherine, has swerved their many attempts to win her heart, and has chosen Sam.


They decide to take matters into their own hands, and murder Sam and Mary Lou. With Katherine watching in the distance, unable to do anything to save her true love.


PART2: THE SHIFT

After Sam's murder, Katherine changes.


She's no longer the kind-hearted, tender woman they all knew and loved. She's out for blood. The blood of any and every man she can get her hands on.


Enter: Kissin' Kate Barlow.


The day after Sam's death, Kate head's to the Sheriff's office and shoots him at point blank range. She leaves, but not after giving him a kiss on the cheek, leaving her red lipstick mark on his face.


Kate goes on a rampage, killing and kissing men, as her way to avenge Sam's death.

 

Kissin' Kate Barlow was always one of, if not my favorite character from the movie. At first, I was in awe of her gentle and feminine spirit. Then, I was impressed by her passion and fearlessness.


Watching her always made me wonder: how far would I go, if I felt the need to avenge the murder of someone I loved?


As women, we're often told that we should behave, look and speak like Kate, pre-Sam's death. But the truth is, no one knows what they're capable of, until they're pushed.


And even though Kate's demeanor changed, and she was hardened by bitterness and grief, I never perceived her as less feminine. Because many of us have a wild, raw, and fearless woman hidden inside of us.


The question is, can we, or should we, ever let her out?


As with many of my posts lately, I believe the answer is in balance.


Yes, we can be as ladylike and "proper" as we want, but let's not ignore the wild feminine lioness inside of us that yearns to protect her pack.


How can we tend to her, nurture her, and allow her to appear and show up when she needs to?


First, by acknowledging and welcoming our emotions, we open the door to becoming friends with our wild lioness, instead of being ashamed of her.


Emotions aren't the enemy.


Emotions allow us to feel fully human. It's what you do with your emotions, that's important. If you're angry, feel angry. If you're happy, feel happy. If you're feeling sensuous, relish in it.


Emotions are beautiful cues that help us navigate life and understand ourselves better.


Do I think emotions should rule your decision making? No.


Do I think you should ride around on horseback stealing men's money and shooting them out of grief? Absolutely not.


But do I think you should find other ways to allow the wild feminine to show up?

Absolutely yes.


And second, notice your response when certain emotions arise. How do you handle yourself when you're feeling sad? Do you punish yourself? Or treat yourself with care and tenderness?


When you're angry, do you take it out on innocent bystanders? Or do you welcome the anger, however unpleasant it might feel, and work through it?


Your body will generally have an innate response, or a taught response, to certain emotions. And recognizing those responses can give us a format for how to deal with our emotions in future situations.

 

Ultimately, I think the story of Kate shows us that femininity doesn't only look one way. And it also shows us, that sometimes life can change your sunny outlook on the world. But being a woman who was willing to kill for the man she loved? That's kind of a 19th Century feminine baddie in my book.


I hope you enjoyed this post! I'm looking forward to writing more pieces about my favorite feminine characters.


Drop some of your favorite Wild Feminine leading ladies in the comments :)


xo,

F.





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