Today, I saw ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ with my daughter and niece. I enjoyed the movie (especially the 80s music and the jokes) as did they (mostly Groot, the resilient, dancing tree,) Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, is a kick-ass smart assassin who saves the universe with a team of misfits, but I had a minor (hint, hint) issue with her role. Tell me, what do you notice about the gender ratio in this poster for the “GOTG?”
Notice anything in common with the gender ratio of “The Avengers”?
What about this recent Justice League comic cover?
Lest you think this 1:4/5/6 female/ male gender ratio is exclusive to superheroes, here’s my post on the Minority Feisty:
If you see an animated film today, it’s likely to include a token strong female character or two who reviewers will call “feisty.” In “How to Train Your Dragon” Astrid; in “Toy Story,” Jessie; in “Ratatouille,” Colette. She’s supposed to make us feel like the movie is contemporary and feminist, unlike those sexist films of yesteryear.
Just one recent example: People Magazine describes Anne Hathaway’s role as Jewel in “Rio 2:”
There have been other big changes as well for the actress who reprises her role as the feisty macaw Jewel in the new animated film ‘Rio 2.’
The problem is that because Pixar or Disney or Marvel has so magnanimously thrown in this “feisty” female (who may even have some commentary about sexism or male domination) we’re no longer supposed to care that almost all of the other characters in the film are male, including the star who the movie is often titled for and usually his best buddy as well. The crowd scenes in the film are also made up of mostly males.
“Feisty” isn’t a word that describes someone with real power, but someone who plays at being powerful. Would you ever call Superman “feisty?” How would he feel if you did?
The Smurfette Principle has evolved into the Minority Feisty. Now instead of a “token” female in a children’s movie, we may see a few females sprinkled around, a “minority” of them. Parents, the next time you watch a children’s movie, try not to let the Minority Feisty population distract you from the limitations female characters are almost always forced into. Ask yourself: Is the female the protagonist in this film? Does the narrative revolve around her quest? Or is she there to (play a crucial role in) helping the male star achieve his goal/ dream?
Imagine if the gender ratio presented in movies for kids was reflected in their world. Girls would be a minority instead of one half of the kid population. When females go missing from children’s media, another generation gets trained to expect and accept a world where girls go missing. It seems normal to them that there has never been a female president of their country, that there is just one great female chef among males, or perhaps, none at all as shown in this Time Magazine article on the greatest chefs, titled “Gods of Food.”
In the imaginary world, a world created for kids, anything is possible, so why is it so consistently sexist?
See Peggy Orenstein’s post: “Pixar’s female problem: Please stop asking ‘What about Jessie?,” on the Minority Feisty issue
See Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2014 http://reelgirl.com/2014/01/reel-girls-gallery-of-girls-gone-missing-from-childrens-movies-in-2014/
Reel Girl rates ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ ***H***