Why 'Die Hard' Is The Ultimate Feminist Christmas Movie (Seriously)

Photo: Vanity Fair
Die Hard Christmas movies Love Actually feminism feminist holiday movies

If you’ve ever been on Twitter any time during December, you’ve seen the annual debate about whether or not the 1988 action classic Die Hard can be considered a “Christmas movie.”

Let’s be honest — the debate is getting boring. In fact, people from all over the political spectrum on social media are starting to get annoyed with the conversation.

And they’re right. The “Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?” argument is over and done with. All points have been made, sides have been drawn. It’s not fun anymore. We all already know where we fall on this one.

BUT… that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to discuss.

Because, no, I don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Not just a Christmas movie.

I think Die Hard is a FEMINIST Christmas movie that we should all be proud to share with our daughters over the holidays.

For the record, my wife thinks I’m insane for holding this opinion, particularly after I started using my heartfelt belief that Die Hard is actually incredibly feminist to attack the feminist street cred of one of her favorite holiday guilty pleasures, 2003’s Love Actually.

I know what you’re thinking — “Hey, there’s only ONE woman in Die Hard and there are LOADS of really talented women in Love Actually.”

But that one woman is Holly fucking Gennero, played by the incomparable Bonnie Bedelia, and Holly Gennero subverts the hell out of all of the typical action movie masculinity in this Los Angeles crime sausage-fest.


Die Hard Wiki

I enjoy Love Actually, but let’s look at the female characters — a housewife who gets cheated on, a political staffer who gets hit on by her boss, a woman who’s afraid to ask a man out, a new bride whose husband’s best friend declare his love for her in a super creepy way that we're supposed to think is really romantic (and she NEVER tells her husband), a housekeeper, a home-wrecking secretary, and a gang of horny Americans who fall for the stupidest, most annoying Brit ever.

Those ladies make me laugh and tug at my heart-strings every Christmas, but they’re not exactly role models for my daughter.

However, over in the world of Die Hard, Holly Gennero holds all of the cards.


She moved her kids away from their father because he wouldn’t support her career. She went back to using her maiden name. She invited her estranged husband to her office X-Mas party, which is a BALLER MOVE. (Her policeman hubby was so unnerved by this act, he had to resort to making fists with this toes to calm down after the flight.)

When terrorists take over her office’s coke-fueled holiday mixer, Holly IMMEDIATELY takes charge. (She even tries to protect her boss from getting his head blown off, which, unfortunately, doesn’t work.) She starts negotiating with Alan Rickman — the point of convergence between Die Hard and Love Actually — and quickly earns his begrudging respect.

Her bad-assness even works against her because Hans Gruber eventually realizes that she’s John McClane’s wife, probably because he asked himself, “Which woman here is cool enough to have a machine-gun-toting maverick as her husband?”

The answer to that question is — Holly Gennero McClane.


(Can we also take a moment to praise Holly’s super-pregnant co-worker who was working every day up until her due date at her hardcore corporate job? Mad respect, future mama.)

Holly might not even fire a gun, and her husband does save her in the end, but one could argue that the entire film is just about John McClane’s personal journey to prove himself worthy to the wife he neglected.

She LETS him save her and, in the end, she even protects their renewed bond by slugging the slimy reporter who tried to exploit her family.


Plus, as we learn from Die Hard 2, her husband RELENTS and moves to Los Angeles after the events of the first movie.

That means HOLLY WINS.

And when did she win? When did she prove herself superior to terrorists and her husband? When did she give her husband the present of allowing him back into her life?


Die Hard isn’t JUST a Christmas movie. It’s an empowering holiday story of women’s lib that just happens to feature explosions, men jumping off skyscrapers, and the dad from Family Matters.

It’s a Christmas miracle.

So, let’s stop debating whether or not Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie. Been there, done that.

Instead, let’s start embracing it as a subversive feminist masterpiece that allows boys to run wild with their toys because, at the end of the day, despite all of his pyrrhic victories, the wife-beater-wearing alpha male will be BEGGING Holly fucking Gennero to take him home for the holidays.

Is this an absurd case of “reading too much into the text” because I really want my wife to watch Die Hard with me on Christmas Eve?


But it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong…