Many modern action movies, including How To Train Your Dragon 2, are visibly trying to make their female characters more than trophies and …
I know it’s too much to ask for every movie goer or gamer to notice and care about these things but the fact that we, as makers, don’t know or care about these things is not acceptable. It’s not easy to change the way things are ‘cause they’ve been stuffed in our throats for so long that we take them for the one and ultimate truth but… It’s important to try.
The first step is to admit to your self, without excuses that yes, I tend to create characters that are cool/goodlooking/skinny/white/whatever and my leading characters tend to be male or if there’s a doctor/train driver/ old wise person/ muscle of the group they tend to be male, or the other way around the nagging or caring or cute and rescue needing characters tend to be female. And then ask why? I’m guilty of many stupid things when creating characters and I get so frustrated when I notice it, mostly because THERE IS NO REAL STORY BASED REASON for the characters to be the way they are. We have the freedom of an artist yet we use it to repeat the outdated and damaging formulas we’ve been fed with.
This is a slightly different matter but I’ll talk about it anyway; I’m working on a little game project that might actually never happen, and a while ago I decided to make the main character clearly overweight. I would have wanted for the player to be able to pick a bodytype they wanted, but when I realised it would be too much work I thought I’d settele for “average” body type. Normal. Thin to be exact. And then I got mad at myself. REALLY MAD. Here I am, preaching about shit and when it actually came to the point where I could make a difference I was doing exactly what everyone else was doing. The Idea of the main character being really big made me uncomfortable. In my head, it seemd to change the whole feeling of the game I was planning. I sort of looked at those feelings and tried to figure where they were coming, since I could see no actual REASONING behind that reaction. And then I just started to draw the characters. It was really awkward at first, but the more I draw and the more I look at my characters I start to see the beauty in them, I’m getting used to seeing them and the absence of such characters in the media feels more and more unnatural. I’m challenging myself, and I’m teaching myself. I’m changing my ways. Slowly.
I know this is all very rude and I propably come across as hypocrite, but what I want is to fill the media, movies, comics, games, series with versatile characters, so that the next generations of artists don’t have to go through such stupid thought processes when they want to create a character and if somebody told them that yeah you know you have to give your female characters something to do, they’ll laugh ‘cause it’s so obvious to them ‘cause they’ve seen it in the movies and read it in the comics they love.
It doesn’t mean you can’t make a character with big boobs and no personality or traditionally handsome since they’re part of that versatility too, but every time you do you should be well aware of what you’re doing. The models that the current entertainment is giving are very limited, and every time I see a movie it makes me so sad to think the kids who think they can’t be heroes ‘cause they’re fat or short or have glasses or bad skin or can’t run that fast when all that they’re being is perfectly fine and good. It saddens me that girls set their goals on being pretty and liked and extrovert and loud instead of being whatever the hell they please. I’m not saying that it’s all bad to want those things, to be strong, to be pretty to be tough, but to think that you are nothing if you’re not those things is not a good thing.
…End of rant… Keep challenging and questioning yourselves! I’ll post some examples of the characters I talked about later.