Saturday, 15 July 2017

Young female action characters given little or no dialogue

Audiences, especially young, female viewers, deserve to see pre-teen heroines who are as complex as the countless boys we see in movies and TV shows every year. There are so few female characters, particular kids and teens, who are allowed to be strong and smart and determined — why should the ones we have only be defined by their physical prowess, when they have the potential for so much more? Seeing these girls be as badass in action scenes as boys have for years is great, no question, but we shouldn't have to settle for just that. [Bustle]
Wonder Woman is being widely treated as heralding a breakthrough on the glass ceiling females face in the action genre (I'm not so sure - the costume ...), with a number of other high profile roles building on this narrative.

Rachel Simon, writing for Bustle, argues that these roles remain limited and limiting in what they say about equality - fundamentally, these female roles are near-mute, the characters are given very limited voice, sticking with traditional sexist roles:

The quietness of these girls doesn't detract from the power of their actions, but, as Yoshida pointed out, it is frustrating; their lack of communication takes away from their complexities as characters, and as such, they become completely defined by their bold, often violent behaviors, rather than simply enhanced by them. Yes, it's progressive and important to see young girls kicking butt on-screen, but if they can't speak for themselves or have fully-developed personalities like their male counterparts, then something's clearly wrong. And it's even more damaging when, like in Planet of the Apes, the tiny heroine is one of the only female characters to appear on-screen at all; dozens of male characters get to speak freely, but the only girl featured at all doesn't get to say a single word.

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