I have seen movies that made me feel lousy, like I didn’t measure up to some impossible standard of beauty, or grace, or humor. I have seen movies that make me long to be pretty, to be elegant, to be a good singer or a talented musician. I have never before seen a movie that made me want to feel powerful. Brave did.
Since I was young, I have loved “girl power” stories. Not the girls like Kim Possible with impossible animated bodies and fancy gadgets, but Matilda and her books, Tamora Pierce’s female knights and mages, Hermione Granger, and, most recently, Katniss Everdeen. But until I saw Brave, I had never sen an animated “princess” movie that made me feel like “strong” was a desirable quality. I grew …
Now, before launching into this, let me make one thing clear: I love the TV show Bones and have for a long time. I also kind of like Rizzoli & Isles, but there’s one thing that’s been irking me about these two series, even though they feature women in the leading roles and (especially in the case of Bones) have diverse casts. My problem is the fact that while both Temperance Brennan of Bones and Maura Isles of Rizzoli & Isles are portrayed as unusually smart and gifted females, they are also portrayed as socially awkward to a point that borders on a psychological disorder.
As anyone who has read The Yellow Wallpaper might know, there’s been a long standing tradition of portraying women as crazy and in need …
awesome: but why is she the exception rather than the rule?
Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and many more) was once asked “Why do you write such strong female characters?”
“Because you’re still asking me that question.”
So, why are we still asking that question?
Lately, “strong female characters” in fiction seem to be on the rise. Hermoine Granger. Lisbeth Salander. Katara. River Tam. More recently, Katniss Everdeen and Merida from The Hunger Games and Pixar’s Brave, respectively. My question is, why are these characters such a big deal? Why is it still a surprise to people that women in fiction can be action heroes, no questions asked? And furthermore, when a “weak” female character comes along (first one that comes to mind is …