MAD MEN / GAME OF THRONES / MINDHOLE BLOWERS / NETFLIX



An Open Letter to the Pinheads Who Think Writing Strong Female Characters Is Hard

By Cindy Davis | Think Pieces | October 14, 2013 | Comments ()


Thumbnail image for pabe.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of being bombarded with what seems to be some sort of mass reversion to ridiculous women stereotypes. In the past week, I’ve had the urge to throttle a man right through the pages of a magazine, and to rip down the rack labels at a local Barnes and Noble. “Women’s Interests,” my ass (knitting, sewing, cooking and style, according to the selected display). As the mother of equally obsessed girl and boy Star Wars aficionados, it’s upsetting to see those film related toys (among others) constantly separated out in stores and directed at the male population. And as someone who watches all kinds of television and films, I’m tired of hearing writers say things like Boardwalk Empire creator Terrence Winter recently did (on his casting coup, Patricia Arquette): (She’s) “one of those rare talents who can play a woman every bit as tough as the men yet remain feminine and sexy.” (I’ll hold my tongue for the moment…and try to look good doing it.)

Also commenting this week on the hardships of creating and portraying womenfolk was Lino DeSalvo, head animator of Disney’s Frozen: “Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, ‘cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna (Kristen Bell) being angry.”

Okay, now I can’t hold my tongue any longer…

Dear Male Writers Who Struggle Creating Strong Female Characters,

Oh how I feel for you, trying to imagine the ever elusive sexy/smart/tough chick and bring her to life! You are a warrior, not unlike the great hunters who risk life and limb tracking Yeti or even Nessie herself. We silly women and our emotions; how you must suffer as you work around our imperfections! How relieved you must feel when you’re free to create male characters; they make no expressions, they’re tough and sexy, and free to be as unattractive as they like.

*insert screeching car sound here*

Let’s get real. The only thing difficult about creating strong female characters is force-filtering them through the heads of feeble minded men who insist on perpetuating antiquated ideas of what a woman is—of who she can be. It is you who spoons your teenaged wet dreams to your fellow brethren; you who limits these half-dimensioned poster ladies, blaming your self-set boundaries on advertising demographics or network heads. Even writers known for trying to buck the trend get sucked into the stupidity (perhaps to entice the feeble minded network men). Take, for instance, the pilot episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Imagine my face after having invited my daughter to watch it with me, and cue the scene where Coulson gives fellow agent Ward a truth serum to gain the trust of female hacker Skye—Coulson leaves the room so she can ask Ward anything she likes. Instead of focusing on what intelligence she might gather through smart questions, Skye immediately began shoving her barely contained cleavage in Ward’s face, flitting around him in some sort of ridiculous *tantalizing* dance. I don’t know about you, but that scene immediately shut me (and my daughter) right down. (And this is hardly the first time Whedon’s gone full boob; see Dollhouse’s Echo, a strong undercover agent seemingly made almost entirely of breast and lip tissue). It is beyond frustrating trying to teach children they aren’t defined by gender when everything they see around them gives the opposite message; even more so when these powerful voices speak such foolish words which are in turn careened into the mainstream media and reverberated throughout the industry. Ladies, how can you be cute or beautiful or even average looking, and at the same time, have an actual working brain? Is it hard to think while you’re looking good? Remember, never try to use your intellect when breasts will do.

Listen up you crusty fuckmuffins, you hear that tap, tap, tapping at the door? Let us in. If it is all just too difficult for your tiny, struggling minds—too beyond your ability to comprehend that women have and are able to use their minds rather well, regardless and independent of the way they look, then maybe you should let more women into the dusty, taped-up pleather couched, stinky-ass, windowless craphole you call a writer’s room so we can twist up your peabrains with women characters as real and beautiful as all those we know in real life. I’m tired of waiting around for the men’s club to catch up to reality. As the Writer’s Guild notes in their 2013 staffing brief “It all begins with the writing;” but from 1999 to 2012, women television writing staff have only increased about 5 percentage points. “At this rate of increase, it would be another 42 years before women—roughly half of the U.S. population—reach proportionate representation in television staff employment.” Forty-two years? That’s unacceptable, especially considering the male writers are unwilling or unable to write the characters that truly represent us. Every day, I interact with smart, tough, expressive, warm, intuitive, glorious girls who imagine, inspire, educate, fight, run, jump and kick ass, refuse to quit, beat the odds, and push right back those who try to stand in their way—a couple of them are even my daughters. If you can’t write us, we will.

Sincerely,

Cindy

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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  • shaylynnvacca321

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    an awesome Honda by work parttime using a lap-top... imp source J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Ben

    for fucks sake, can Pajiba actually get a writer that knows anything about animation if their going to talk about it. Because it's seriously getting cringe worthy. I've read countless articles that called Planes a pixar movie, Despicable me a Dreamworks movie and now this. Seriously, quoting an animator in the context of writing strong female characters?

    Do you know who writes the characters? Cause it sure as shit isn't the animators. I've seen this quote going around on tumblr but I expected better from pajiba writers.

    What Lino DeSalvo isn't.
    He is not the writer, he is not responsible for how the characters behave.
    He is not the character designer, he is not responsible for the fact that the characters look similar.
    He is not the director, he's not responsible for the overall style or tone of the movie.

    What DeSalvo IS
    He's an animator, he decides how a character moves.
    This has to be fitted into a style guide that gives specific instructions on what you can and can't do with the character. How far you can push expressions, how far you can distort or caricature them. Again, deciding that shit is NOT DeSalvo's job, working withing those guidelines IS DeSalvo's job.

    Find an interview with any animator from Disney's princess films and they generally feel the same way because the style guides and direction for female characters is a lot more limited then it is for males. Animating the princess characters is limiting and boring because of that, and that's why animators generally prefer doing like the villain or the comic relife because they're allowed to push those characters further.

    If you want to complain about those style guides and limiting factors then sure, go ahead that's completly valid. But learn who to blame first before you go writing a vitriol filled open letter slamming on an animator who is being forced to work under restrictions.

    Do a bit of research about the person and the role they fill before you fucking dogpile on them. You'd be better aiming it at Chris Buck and Jenifer Lee, the directors who are the ones that would have signed off on the style guides, and applying the limitations.

  • The article points out what DeSalvo said and that he said it, but it specifically calls out writers, not animators. Whether Cindy meant there to be a difference or not, it's obviously frustrating that basically the exact same language is so often used by male writers/directors (and even female ones, sometimes!) to describe why making something female-led, like a Wonder Woman movie for example, is just too hard to do. It's the frequency of the excuses that riles up the blood, not the source, necessarily.

    I also had a bit of a problem with using an animator's words to decry bad writing, because you do have a point about job descriptions and responsibility. But, then, shouldn't DeSalvo's complaint -- if, by your post, we can understand it is expressing dissatisfaction about the restrictions laid upon him, like so many employees trying to earn a living -- be used to point out exactly how far the problem goes? Calling to task the writers/directors is important, of course, but isn't it so sickening and depressing that the issue reaches all the way to how someone draws a person's facial expression? Isn't he expressing, then, the same frustrations that Cindy and anybody else who latches onto his statement expressing? Isn't that worth pointing out for the record?

    Perhaps you still think it could have been handled better. I would like to point out that you have the space to make that criticism, whether you're being fair or not to the person you're meant to be addressing.

  • Ben

    If the article was using his comments in that way then I would have an entirely different reaction. And the complaints are certainly valid and I would love to see them discussed.

    But this article isn't using them in that context, it's using them in the context of 'here's another idiot that doesn't know how to make women' He's meant to be one of the pinheads that the title refers to. Wich is at best, ignorant of what he's talking about, at worst just down right insulting.

  • JASO

    My critique of your critique:
    1. you use too much ad hominim
    2. you seem to assume that it is a male writer's job to please you, instead of writing a story he likes.
    3. You seem to think insulting someone for not writing what you want them to write is better than acknowledging someone who is writing what you want them to write
    4. you use too much ad hominim.

  • competitivenonfiction

    1. Maybe.

    2. A part of a writer's job is to appeal to the audience. In this case, she's talking about Disney writers and animators who said that it's too hard to write/animate a woman. They are trying to do a job and failing at it. Instead of blaming the subject matter, perhaps they should look at how their shortcomings as writers are impacting their work, and alienating their audience members. As audience members, it's perfectly within our rights to critique a piece of work, and it's especially within our rights to respond to a bullshit excuse for not doing a very good job. In fact, this feedback is essential to the artistic process.

    3. Perhaps, though I think it's pretty effective to do both, and this site spends a lot of time celebrating the things we love.

    4. See 1.

  • JASO

    My critique of your critique:
    1. you use too much ad hominim
    2. you seem to assume that it is a male writer's job to please you, instead of writing a story he likes.
    3. You seem to think insulting someone for not writing what you want them to write is better than acknowledging someone who is writing what you want them to write
    4. you use too much ad hominim.

  • Dragonchild

    Let me personally share how I think up a character.

    First, I think of the character's role in the story. I then consider the character's capabilities. Within that scope I then determine the character's philosophies, methods, priorities. Then I think of the character's hobbies & habits. In combination, I develop the backstory.

    Then I determine the gender.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Interesting. I usually think of a character - one essentially appears in my head, inspired by whatever - and then try to figure out where that character would go/what decisions that character would make. But I'm not going to lay any claims that my writing is great.

  • Dragonchild

    I do that on occasion, so I'm exaggerating somewhat. And for what it's worth, I've yet to finish a writing project. Anyway, sometimes a character will start as an inspiration of sorts, so gender can be one of the first things decided for no other reason than it sprung to mind. However, when the thought process is more high-level -- i.e., the brainstorming started with a premise -- then the character creation is more methodical. During these times, and this is NOT an exaggeration, I have on occasion literally decided the gender of a particular character with a coin toss.

  • It seems to me that we would all do better - either as entertainers or as the entertained- if we stopped dealing in archetypes or trying to create "gender representatives." Even well-intentioned writers fall down when they set out to make a point - "I'm going to write a STRONG woman" or "I'm going to show that manly men CAN be vulnerable" - instead of a person. Not one among us can fairly represent our gender (or race, or religion, sexual orientation, etc.); that's why it works out so well that nature deals in quantity.
    Guess what I'm saying is, we in the audience need to trust that a negative portrayal of a character is not a slam against an entire group, and writers need to EARN that trust by creating fully-realized, complex, HUMAN characters who are people, rather than group stand-ins.

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    Completely agree. However, if you go down that route, prepare yourself for the cringe-inducing "but... unlikeable character" whinge-fest.
    An opinion that is about as valuable as the other classic: "worst. movie. ever".
    I will concede that those are a good measure of someone's tastes and it spares the hassle of reading the rest of the comment.

  • Quatermain

    This is a good point.

  • puppetDoug

    A) Yes. B) I think the primary issue with Agents of SHIELD is that the 2 supposed "leads" are walking, barely talking, network notes. Melinda May and Coulson and Wonder Twins are Joss characters, Ward and Skye are not. C) I don't like anyone who's supposed to be a writer complaining about how hard it is to write. It basically says, "I'm not that good, or this isn't my wheelhouse." So why are you doing this job again?

    And D) I think the real problem isn't with writing females, be it strong, weak, complex, shallow. It's that the post-feminist audience is terrifying to male writers, and I'm sure some female ones. It seems like if you give your female any flaws, at least half of your feminist audience will react as if you think all women have those flaws. Ward has no sense of humor and is generally bland, but no one is writing essays about what that says about Joss's view of white men, not the least of which is because Coulson is there too. Well, so's May. Why doesn't she balance out the score? At the same time, if you don't give her flaws, all sane people will talk about how unrealistic and caricatured she is. And if you decide, I'm a man, fuck it I'll keep the female perspective characters to a minimum and write them all as a voice of reason, then people point it out as another point of possible misogyny. You can try writing a male character and changing the sex, but that isn't true to life, either, is it? There ARE differences in the genders and attitudes, and masculinity doesn't make a character better, so why should I write only masculine POVs and just apply genders? I of course don't have these problems, because I can actually write and empathize with women.

    Anyway, none of this should be a problem for big female characters' franchises. Just hire women or people who've shown they're good at it, and cast them with women who've shown they can do it. Katheryn Bigelow/Gina Carano for Wonder Woman, Katee Sackhoff / Waters Brothers (Heathers, Mean Girls, Vampire Academy) for Captain Marvel. This should be obvious.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I wouldn't think it would be difficult to draw female characters that have different facial expressions if you actually draw female characters with different faces.

  • competitivenonfiction

    But... but... there is only one *right* face and body to have.

  • TELL IT! And I'll throw this in the mix: it's the same damn thing when it comes to representing characters of color, leading to a double-strike in the case of actresses of color. The unending laziness, it astounds me...

  • competitivenonfiction

    I want to like this comment more than once just so that it gets higher up on the page.

  • Artemis

    I think this is really important. This was a particularly bad year for female representation in film, but it was ALSO a really bad year for representation of people of color (and that, as you note, creates a double whammy for actresses of color).

  • stellablue

    This is a fantastic rant. BUT. Ladies! This is a reflection of a broader problem, and why feminism is still very, VERY relevant. We're the ones who have to make things happen for us. I don't understand why we're not, but blaming the mens for it is counterproductive. I agree with Cindy Davis that it shouldn't be so hard for men to write strong women, but men aren't women. I'm not defending them, mind. I'm just saying. If we want ourselves to represented properly in TV, movies, books, politics, whatever....we're going to have to get it done ourselves. Men have proven time and time again that, in general, they're not so good at representing us. We really shouldn't be letting them do the legwork for us, and then complaining when they do a shitty job. Again, I'm not defending them, this is not an excuse. There's really no good reason why it should be difficult to write strong women. I'm just saying that we've really left in their hands too much, for too long. The job of representing women belongs to women. So, I don't know....GET ON IT, will you? Get active as a feminist. Make your female voice heard. And NOT by attacking the mens (this gives them reasons to say that feminists hate men, and we need to take back that word).

  • Artemis

    That's great in theory, but there are plenty of women trying to make it as writers in Hollywood, and yet the numbers remain where they are. I'm not going to wait for women to have 50% of writing jobs before arguing that female characters need to be improved. Especially since it is, in the vast majority of cases, men who control which writers are hired.

    And I'm also not going to agree that demanding better-written female characters is "attacking the mens" and thus must be avoided lest their delicate little feelings cause them to turn on feminism. If they want jobs as writers, they can expect criticism when their writing sucks. Writing bad female characters counts as bad writing. Having good, realistic female characters is not some special privilege that women should be off to one side working on. Writing good, realistic female characters should be an enterprise that every single writer in Hollywood is engaged in because it's a critical part of good writing, period.

    The job of representing women belongs to everyone who is writing movies and television shows. Because whether or not those writers think about the issue when writing, what they produce--good female characters, terrible female characters, no female characters at all--is part of the representation of women in pop culture. They're engaged in that project whether they want to be or not, so they all need to get better at it.

  • stellablue

    I agree. They do need to get better at it. But what I'm referring to is women getting involved in a larger sense. Yes, male writers do need to take responsibility for writing good female characters. And they shouldn't need to have that explained to them. But they do, obviously. What you're talking about is how it *should* be, and I agree. The reality is a different story. And I'm saying that complaining about the many ways men misrepresent women is not really keeping them from misrepresenting women. I wasn't just talking about the stupid writing on stupid TV shows. The misrepresentation of women by men, in writing, is a symptom of a much bigger problem about the way men perceive women. Which is to say, not in an entirely pure and positive and truthful way. Still. Do men not understand how to write strong women because they don't know any strong women? That seems unlikely. Maybe it's their perception of what women should be that's muddled. Either way, it's disturbing. But what's more disturbing? I've heard women (like Beyonce and Katy Perry and some of my friends) say that they're not feminists. This is another symptom of the bigger problem of gender inequality. Women are not speaking up. We're not boycotting the shitty writing. We're afraid to call ourselves feminists. And that shit has got to stop. We're half the goddamn population, and it's time we were an equal goddamn half in all respects. But whining about what the men do or do not do to misrepresent us is not particularly helpful- especially if we're not really stepping up to change it. It's not about avoiding their delicate feelings. Their feelings are not a part of this conversation. This is about OUR feelings. We feel slighted and misrepresented, so WE need to change it. Your version of the way things should be is great, but it's not the way things are. Unless, you know, men suddenly have a massive group epiphany and all magically rectify the error of their ways, which is totally likely to happen.

  • emmalita

    I agree and I disagree. I think it's important we tell our own stories and that we not wait for other people to do things for us. I think letters like this are very important. Too many men have written great women and too many women have written great men for it to be acceptable for anyone to say it is too hard to write the opposite gender.

  • stellablue

    It's definitely not acceptable. But I think women need to work a little harder to change the status quo...if we're just talking about writing multifaceted, strong women, well...we need to speak up with articles like this and we need to speak up by not supporting the men who are writing shitty female characters. And women need to fight a little harder to infiltrate these male-dominated professions.

  • emmalita

    No. Women don't need to try harder. Woman having been trying to break into male dominated fields for decades - centuries even. It gets better and then it gets worse. A few people are successful. A ghetto is created where the non-straight white men can "tell their own stories." But it's a ghetto with a small viewership and suspect quality. Should we quit trying to be successful? No. But don't tell women their lack of effort is the problem. The lack of women in the writer's rooms of successful tv shows isn't for lack of trying on the part of women. When people say they can't find qualified women they are blind, lazy, or lying. All of this applies to people of color, too.

  • Matt Staten

    "If you can't write us, we will." PLEASE DO! Instead of yet another article on this subject, do the productive thing and come up with said character, script, and put it out there. Maybe it'll get made, maybe it won't, but at least then maybe the internet will finally calm down a bit on this subject. Look at this as misogynistic and me wanting to hold women down all you want. I just want less whining about this subject and for all the people saying that it can be done to prove themselves right.

    If you can’t write us, we will.
    Read more at http://www.pajiba.com/think_pi...
    If you can’t write us, we will.
    Read more at http://www.pajiba.com/think_pi...

  • Artemis

    Maybe it'll get made, maybe it won't, but at least then maybe the internet will finally calm down a bit on this subject.

    If you typed that with a straight face, then I don't think you understand the problem. (1) Newsflash: people already do this. There are plenty of movies about women, or ways to improve female characters, that have been pitched in Hollywood. There are even more that have been posted in various places online, including on this very website. (2) Why on earth would you think it would "finally calm down" the internet (newsflash the second: the internet has only fairly recently gotten upset about this after literally a century of underrepresentation and shitty writing of women) if people who are not Hollywood writers posted pitches for scripts about female characters that never get made? We are all aware that it is possible to have interesting, well-written female characters. The problem is that those characters appear in movies less often than they should.

  • Right, because it's totally likely that they'll just throw open the doors and welcome lots of qualified women writers into their enclave. After all, history has shown... oh... right. History has shown that entrenched populations resent anyone they see as threatening hegemony. Also, history has shown that women have a much harder time breaking barriers in the workplace than men. Surely you knew that before implying that concerns about how women are portrayed in the media is just "whining." Nothing at all dismissive there.

  • emmalita

    Part of the problem is that the follow up to, "it's so hard to write strong women," is "it's so hard to find qualified women writers." Both are bullshit and are signs of laziness and lack of imagination.

  • PREACH IT, I say.

    And another part of the problem is that the gatekeepers to access and opportunity are the same lazy yet powerful men who hold these views in the first place. Thank Christ for the internet and the rise of quality micro-budgeted productions.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Why is that? Don't they have binders full of women?

    They should.

  • emmalita

    Can I get an AMEN?

  • alannaofdoom

    If nothing else, you would think animators would be used to animating emotional women. Because ladies are always so emotional, amirite fellas?

    Ugh to all of them, and bravo to you Cindy.

  • flibbertygibbert

    this is why i love Scandal.

  • Bananapanda

    Shonda Rhimes has now created three network TV shows with strong female leads that aren't too shabby in the ratings. I hated Private Practice but it was around a couple of years at least.

  • I gotta agree with you. Finally, a black character who's allowed to be a full-fledged Person! She's often wrong, she's done some shitty and stupid things, yet she's loyal (in her own way), driven, tough, beautiful, successful, and emotional.

    As dumb as the dialogue is sometimes, and as shit-balls crazy as the plot gets, I really appreciate it. I'm sick and tired of two-dimensional black female characters who are either flaming tropes or eventually falling on a tragic sword in a Tyler Perry (or similar) film so that Southern Christians can feel warm and fuzzy at night #sorrynotsorry

  • Amen! And if they're wondering how on earth they can do such a thing, all they have to do is read. There are tons of kickass female characters in fiction, boys. Use them as templates, if you have to.

  • Quatermain

    Or history. You can make a sweeping historical epic about William Wallace, you can make one about Boudicca. Or Granuaile. Don't tell me either of those won't make money.

  • Marry me. Oh, wait. Someone already did that. Be my clandestine internet crush?

  • Quatermain

    Hell, the story of Boudicca would be one of the easier things in the world to translate onto the screen. Cast Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton as Boudicca, throw Jason Isaacs in as the villainous Roman and James Purefoy or Kevin McKidd as the quasi-sympathetic Roman. Give the project to the lady who made 'The Hurt Locker' and then sit back and watch the money roll in.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    BBC, I think, had a version with Alex Kingston years ago.

    But I disagree, alas, that it is easy to translate to screen. I would think King Arthur would be easy to translate to screen, but a brilliant version of that story has yet to happen. (don't even with Excalibur. "Fun" is different from "excellent.")

  • Quatermain

    I wouldn't suggest 'Excalibur.' It is fun, but it's also way too '80's swords and sorcery to be excellent. I liked 'King Arthur' with Clive Owen as well, but I'll also admit it's not exactly 'Citizen Kane.'

    I think if someone were to make a sweeping historical epic about Boudicca, they could do a lot worse than to look at 'Braveheart' first and go from there.

  • emmalita

    No. It isn't. It is not hard to write strong female characters. It is hard to write strong barbies. Women spend a lot of time and money on pop culture. We deserve well written women. We. Deserve. Well. Written. Women. Write a woman who is a full character - she will be strong and weak. She will have complicated motivations. She will have a shifting list of priorities. She will have more than one strategy for getting what she wants.

  • Maguita NYC

    First time I realized that a woman could be driven and still be attractive on film (pardon past brainwashing) was Barabara Streisand's Katie Morosky in The Way We Were. I don't know how I would feel watching her character unfold again today, if I would roll my eyes or root for her loudly. I remember however thinking, here is a driven woman who did not fold to societal pressures and showed determination and passion even in politics. And damn it all, she was hot in her intractable rebellious glory.

    I have to re-watch this movie, and see if it still holds true some decades later. We need more Katie Moroskys in our lives.

  • Dragonchild

    Inconsistency does not equal depth.

  • Depends on why someone is being inconsistent. If it's because different problems require different solutions, or matters of degree based on context, or new information is acquired -- and that's all either explained or easily inferred -- then inconsistency is just being human. If inconsistency contains no logic whatsoever, with logic also including someone's emotions or biases, only then is it bad or thoughtless writing.

  • emmalita

    You could interpret what I wrote as inconsistent. Or you could interpret it as complex and multi-faceted.

  • lowercase_see

    PREACH

  • APOCooter

    I never understood the concept of the difficulty in writing strong female characters. Don't you just write a strong character that happens to be female?

  • mayday16

    Actually, I think this is where a lot of male writers get it wrong. Characters who can be interchangeably male and female aren't always as interesting. The female experience is very different from the male one, just as those of different races, sexualities, etc. have different experiences, and understanding this can lead to creating more varied, richer characters. Our backgrounds - gender, religion, economic status - define us and make us vibrant and different. Stripping a character of this and just giving them a certain set of generic traits such as 'strong,' 'brave' or 'good at martial arts' doesn't necessarily make them complex or interesting. Don't just write a 'strong' character who happens to be female. Write an interesting character whose strength is partially informed by her femininity. OR, even write one who is weak, but with good reason, or one who is wily, or smart, or messy, or any other characteristic that goes hand-in-hand with her gender or even works against it. It's not about turning characters into interchangeable pieces -- it's about having empathy for how people can be strong in different ways.

  • Dragonchild

    Problem with that approach is that if the male characters are just as vapid, you'll wind up with a female trying to make something of a role written for Sylvester Stallone or something. I'm definitely noticing a regression in terms of female roles, but it's part of a larger push to appeal to more anti-intellectual audiences.

  • Legally Insignificant

    If George R.R. Martin, writing in the fantasy milieu, one well-known for being particuarly misogynistic, can write strong female characters well, how is it so hard for other writers to do the same?

  • Aaron Schulz

    not only strong female characters but at least one that is female and a child and both of those come off properly and shes still not a whimpering idiot

  • Bananapanda

    Dani yes. Sansa no. She's still a simpering idiot.

  • Limbo

    He also pats himself on the back continuously for this. Spouting off lines of clear bullshit like "I see women as people". Woah. You blew my mind. What a novel concept.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Why aren't we calling these guys out for being shitty at their jobs? If I said to my boss "it's really super duper hard for me to do this thing you specifically hired me to do," he would have to hire someone else, and I'd be lucky to get a horrible performance review instead of losing my job. Especially if I tried to blame it on something that has been proven to be untrue by others in the same field (Miyazaki, just for starters).

    If you can't do your job well, get the fuck out of the way of those who can do it.

    Edited to correct my original awkward wording.

  • Guest

    .

  • Isaiah

    Isn't it a record player being suddenly stopped?

  • BWeaves

    If it's that difficult to write a good part for a woman, then just write it for a man, and CAST A WOMAN IN THE ROLE. Trust me. It'll work. Eddie Murphy once replaced a part written for a dog, so it's not that hard to do. We're really not that different from men, just smarter.

  • Aren't something like half of Jodi Foster's roles because of exactly that situation? Related: Jodi Foster is also good in roles written specifically for women (see: Contact and Maverick and The Accused and Taxi Driver, etc.).

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