Classic Minority Feisty in ParaNorman

I got this comment from Stace:

I’m grateful to you for giving me the term ‘Minority Feisty’, because indeed, there is a girl character (a nerdy, excluded type with a monobrow who plays the witch in a play) in Paranormal who has very few lines, but one of those lines is a feminist piece about the mistreatment of witches throughout history, or something similar.

Plotwise, it’s up to Norman to save the world (or community, at least) from a witch. Which he does.

I haven’t seen “ParaNorman” but from Stace’s description, the female character is classic Minority Feisty. As with Colette in “Ratatouille,” she delivers a feminist line or two. Her place in the narrative allows parents to breathe a sigh of relief and think: OK, this movie is about a boy, there are more males than females in it, but it’s still feminist.

It’s not.

In a fantasy world, an animated movie for little kids, it’s hardly feminist to illustrate sexism. It is far more feminist and inspiring to show kids images and narratives of females being strong and brave, making choices and taking risks. Fore example, it would have been much better for girls– and boys– to see Colette be the star of the movie instead of listening to her recite a monologue on sexism in French kitchens.

And one more thing about the word “feisty” so often used to describe strong female characters in children’s films. “Feisty” doesn’t imply strong, it implies playing at being strong in a cute way. Think about this: Would you call Superman feisty? How would he feel if you did?