Tuesday 9 February 2016

The Secret To Writing Flawed Women

I had to explain this to someone the other day and I think there's some mileage in putting this out there in case anyone is interested.

The reason I think that Mad Max: Fury Road can get away with doing things with and to its female characters that would normally bring it in for criticism (like, say, running a pregnant woman over with a monster truck or the one Bride who decides for a moment that, yep, sexual slavery in exchange for material comfort wasn't too bad a deal, actually) is because there are close to a dozen named, speaking female roles in the movie. What this means is that no single character has to bear the weight of representing their entire gender.

When you only have one or two developed female characters in an overwhelmingly male cast (oh, hello, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, I didn't see you there) you get way less leeway because there's nothing to offset these things. Its easier to read the Bride who breaks as an individual rather than a statement on women as a group because she's standing next to Furiosa, the other Brides and the sniper grannies.

So, how do you get to explore flaws or weakness in female characters without being accused of portraying women as innately weak? You include plenty of them in what you're writing to show that you are treating characters as individuals and not as a case study on your views of an entire half of the human race.

And I hate that something this simple even needed to be explained. 

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