Friday, February 10, 2012

Rosario Dawson is Right

I was cruising through Miss Representation's YouTube videos for funsies and I came across this clip of Rosario Dawson, an actress who I admittedly know little about. But here, she's hit right on one of Hollywood's biggest problems...all too often the stories told are from the male POV. But a real feminist media wouldn't include purely positive portrayals of women. It would strive for well-rounded, non-stereotypical portrayals of women, written by women. That includes women who overcome obstacles, are flawed, and authentic. 

When I think about some of the best female characters, they aren't perfect. They are human and relatable. For example, Kristen Wiig's protagonist, Annie, in Bridesmaids isn't perfect. In fact, her life is a bit in shambles but the audience is able to connect with her as a woman who wants more, loves her best friend, loses her way, and gets back on her feet. Similarly, Diablo Cody's title character, Juno, is a teen who's made some irresponsible choices. But that doesn't make her any less strong as the story develops. Juno shows humor, level headedness, resilience, and wisdom throughout the course of the film. 

With both Juno and Annie, we aren't looking at perfectly strong figures who we would necessarily hope our daughters aspire to be. However, there are wonderful lessons (and lots of laughs) to be derived from each of their stories. 

Yes, the media needs more strong, confident, uncompromisingly awesome female characters. No question. But Dawson's right when she insists that we also need realistic portrayals of women too and real women are not perfect. The solution to combating the plastic unrealistic images of "hot" women isn't creating feminist characters who are so infallible that they feel equally unattainable to girls. The solution is to get more stories out about real women, written and directed by women. As it stands, only 17% of the people behind the cameras are women. 

Basically, I want more Leslie Knopes. We won't get more Leslies, Annies, or Junos until more womens' writing is noticed and appreciated. 

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