Hollywood’s female problem

Matt Forney has just reposted a review he did of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is pretty negative. My more positive impressions are here.

My impression is that Hollywood doesn’t have much idea about how to create genuine, real, likeable, strong but feminine characters. I have written about this before, in respect of the character of Audrey Rouget. Forney writes:

“Most importantly, the only way Hollywood can create “strong” female characters is by depicting them as flawless Überfrauen with heavy flow. Gone is the subtlety and complexity of Kira Nerys, Audrey Horne, or even Rachael in Blade Runner. Hell, Princess Leia in the original films fits the bill. Carrie Fisher famously described Leia as a “distressing damsel” as opposed to a damsel in distress, but for all the barbs she traded with Luke and Han, she didn’t have ice water running in her veins.”

(I remember coming out of the theatre back in 1977 and telling my sister that I thought Princess Leia was cute. She had a bit of an air of Kate from The Taming of the Shrew – a woman with spirit who might be worth taming.)

Forney mentions Rachael. Rachael is that rarity, a genuinely feminine cinematic character. In my view, she acts like a real woman, ironically given her status as a “replicant”. I have analysed here the character of Rachael as fundamentally anti-feminist.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Roman Lance on September 28, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Not trying to be a bully or nothin’, but …. Zoinks! Referencing Matt “the fornication promoter” Forney.

    The guy is kinda lame, and knows very little about women. Just sayin’

    But you’re cool. 🙂


  2. Posted by fuzziewuzziebear on September 28, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Do you think that feminism has forced Hollywood to write women characters with little depth? It does confine a lot of license to thin characters without flaw.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on September 28, 2017 at 4:15 am

      I didn’t think Rey was a bad character. I find with movies that reviewers tend to see what they expect to see. I didn’t find her an obnoxious character. As I wrote earlier on this blog, she gets called “the girl” all the way through the movie; she does make some technical mistakes; and she ends up being carried in Han Solo’s arms, if I recall correctly.

      But the problem is that men and women both have characteristic, but different, flaws. I don’t know much about fiction writing, but I do know that one has to set up interesting tensions: for example between femininity and efficiency. If a female character is not allowed to show some femininity, even feminine weaknesses, she will come across as boring.

      Another thing that drives me nuts is that even one’s natural desire to appreciate genuine female achievement is undermined by this constant feminist drumbeat. For example, I would like to be able to respect what a female scientist does without having to be reminded constantly of feminist critiques of science.


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