Credit: brunkfordbraun

By now you've probably caught fellow Cinematical writer Dawn Taylor's posts about desiring female Pixar leads and wanting some Bechdel rule-abiding women in Star Trek. Both posts got their share of positive comments, but they also got a slew of knee-jerk reactions and vitriol. I don't want to rehash what Dawn already expressed well, nor get into another argument about specific female characterizations. Instead, I want to look into this neverending trend where any desire for a strong female character leads to complaints and accusations of a political agenda.

Ask for a certain type of female protagonist, discuss inequalities, gripe about the proliferation of poorly developed female characters, and in a flash, comments will pour in with a myriad of political catchwords like: feminist agenda, feminist rants, equality of the sexes, affirmative action, sexist conspiracy, and political correctness. These will be joined by painfully inaccurate sentiments that equate a desire for female success with wanting "every unfulfilled desire," Hollywood bending to charity and catering to specific audiences, wanting to exclude men from film, a lack of acceptance at the equality already reached, and of course, that including strong female protagonists is somehow sacrificing or tainting good work. (All of the reactions mentioned in this paragraph can be found in the comments on Dawn's two posts.)

The fact of the matter is: Wanting interesting and diverse female protagonists is not a political agenda. It's a widespread human trait found in both sexes: the desire to find camaraderie and others who are relatable and recognizable.
categories Columns, Cinematical