Jul 29, 2013

Through The Modern Lens: Can Hollywood's Heroines Change The Course Of A Child's Destiny?

I am pleased to be getting back to Myth Beliefs.  If you are reading this post, then you are already a kindred spirit.  Like me, you are a lover and explorer of history, legend, mythology & folklore, whether it be for personal enjoyment, academic pursuits, writing, family genealogy or something else entirely.  

Perhaps, it's all of the above.  Regardless, welcome! welcome!  I am truly glad you are here.

Brave Beliefs:

Image:  Disney-Pixar, 2012 via Entertainment Weekly
Over the weekend, I had occasion to watch - for about the fifth or sixth time - the 2012 Disney-Pixar movie, Brave.  For someone such as myself, just now discovering - and uncovering - deep Scotch-Irish roots in my family's genealogy, Brave is an absolutely wonderful film.  For its genre, the film delivers rich imagery and fine story-telling that the whole family here enjoys.  It also is a perfect topic for today's post.  

For Monday's posts, and as often as I can, I plan to focus on how we use "the modern lens" to depict history, legend, myth & lore.  This is a phrase I have coined for these posts.  However, "through the modern lens" might include photography, film, audio as well as video, the Internet, games, or multi-media approaches.  I am open to any suggestions, and contributions, so please don't be shy.

Now, Back to Brave...More importantly, the movie's theme of a young girl "choosing her own fate" - and turning against what amounts to a near-forced marriage - is, in my opinion, particularly important for young girls to incorporate into their belief systems.  Even if the story line parts company from much of world history, I find it to be an encouraging one for young girls in their formative years, much more so than many other female heroines that are presented as somewhat incomplete; for example, needing rescuing by a "Prince Charming." 

I recognize, however, this may be a point of some debate - perhaps, pointed debate - but that is, after all, why I chose to open the week with this topic.  It touches lightly on the larger topic of women in history, legend, myth, and folklore - while, at the same time, advancing what I hope to do with Monday's posts - "Through the Modern Lens."

Do American Films Favor Male Heroes Over Female Heroines?

In my opinion, although there has been improvement in American cinema over the past several years, it seems to me that an inequity remains in Hollywood's willingness to release films portraying strong female heroines, particularly heroines aimed at the pre-young adult (YA) audience.  Do you agree?  

In the past, when I have raised this topic in discussion, one argument I hear is that young boys' movie ticket sales revenue trumps that of young girls.  Do you agree with that line of thinking?  I raise these questions pointedly, and with great interest.  I have seen no statistics to confirm this argument, for one thing.  Moreover, the argument appears to be patently illogical insofar as one could argue that more young girls would attend movies if more movies like Brave were made.  What do you think?

Moreover, why has virtually every "A-lister" superhero ever conceived been converted into a movie franchise - and even some B, C or D-lister heroes have had big screen airings - but we still await a Wonder Woman movie?  

To be sure, the 1970s television show, Wonder Woman, starring Lynda Carter, was pure 70s camp, and may have had a chilling effect on the release of a movie.  Yet, that certainly has not stopped the studios from releasing multiple Batman movies, despite an equally - if not more - campy 1960s television show .

The original "Batman" series starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward
as Robin (left) and ran from 1966-1968; "Wonder Woman" starred Lynda
Carter and ran from 1976-1979
Is it because there are simply no good stories out there with female heroines that would appeal to young girls?  We know that is simply not the case - as can be seen in Brave, The Hunger Games, and to a lesser extent with the superior-skilled character of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series.

When last I debated this topic, a colleague of mine said something to the effect of, "Well, Wonder Woman was fighting Nazis, and that would just be too hard to explain on the big screen."  My reply, "You've seen the Captain America movie, right?"

Questions to Consider:

How do you feel about the movie Brave?  Do you believe the character of Merida in Brave is a good role model for young girls?  How do you think she compares to more well-established female heroines such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty?  
Walt Disney's version of "Cinderella"

How do you feel about my statements regarding inequity in Hollywood's portrayal of female heroines for young female movie-goers?  Does my arguments hold water or not?  

Feel free to rip me to shreds if you simply do not agree, but have something substantive to say.  This is an important topic, in my opinion.

But, no bullying or name-calling - please.  I would like a lively discussion on this topic from all who are interested, but lively does not include mean-spirited.

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