All hail the new ice queen

Last updated 05:00 04/07/2012

EVIL QUEEN: Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman

With roles in Young Adult, Prometheus and Snow White, Charlize Theron is shaping up as the evil blonde for our times.

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They say each decade gets the blonde it needs. If that's true, what should we conclude about the decade we will soon be calling the teens if the blonde of the moment is a psycho bitch from hell (PBH)? That PBH was portrayed by Charlize Theron first in Young Adult, then in Prometheus and most recently in Snow White and the Huntsman.

OPINION: The blonde for the 1950s was Marilyn Monroe, whose curvaceous, whimsical sexuality balanced the hard-edged puritanical materialism of the time. The blonde for the 1960s was Doris Day, whose screen persona set a moral standard (''not until we're married'') in the pit of promiscuity that was the decade.

In 1966, one film critic described her as ''the world's oldest virgin''.

The ''decade that style forgot'' threw up Farrah Fawcett, whose poster was on every 14-year-old boy's bedroom wall.

The blonde of the '80s was Madonna, whose businesslike approach to self-promotion changed the slogan of the times from ''Greed is good'' to ''Lust is good''. The blonde of the '90s was Sharon Stone, who created the prototype of the PBH, now perfected by Theron.

Stone's persona was the ice queen, or, harking back to mediaeval male fantasies, vagina dentata. She was intelligent, independent and hotter than a pistol but also arrogant, demanding and two-faced, a worrisome thing who'll leave you to sing the blues in the night.

Stone introduced the character in Total Recall, plotting to drive her husband crazy and then kill him. But hubby Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated her, telling her bloody corpse: ''Consider this a divorce.'' Stone had better luck in Basic Instinct, outsmarting Michael Douglas, who had barely survived his encounter with another blonde in Fatal Attraction.

This year Theron picked up Stone's ice pick and ran with it, getting madder, badder and more dangerous with every movie (in contrast with Cameron Diaz, the noughties blonde who got sweeter and ditzier with every movie).

In Young Adult Theron was a self-deluding alcoholic who returned to her home town to ruin the marriage of an ex-boyfriend. In Prometheus she's a businesswoman so ruthless she's mistaken for a robot. And in Snow White and the Huntsman she snacks on the beating hearts of baby birds, orgasms as she murders her husband on their wedding night and literally sucks the life out of young women.

The Sharon Stone blonde of the early '90s represented men's fear of the big-shouldered women who were starting to compete with them at work.

Nowadays, men are relaxed about working with women. So what's the symbolism of the Theron blonde?

-Sydney Morning Herald

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