Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Female Characters (In Two Dimensions!)

Have you seen this flowchart on female movie stereotypes in entertainment? It's created by the folks at Overthinking It. (You'll have to open that window to view it in readable size.)



It's dizzying, hilarious and depressing in equal masure. I'm reading it and I'm totally hearing Meryl Streep's voice in my head when Shirley Maclaine starts listing monster movie moms (like Joan Crawford) that she could have been born to instead in Postcards From the Edge

"These are the options?"

Meryl is awesome and it's tough to find her on this chart; she usually comes in three dimensions.

P.S. I love that Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is still considered such a gold standard female hero. Where's Sigourney's major revival? She deserves better than You Again.

11 comments:

Benjh said...

Interesting that you don't consider Avatar to be a Sigourney Weaver revival (among other things).

IslandLiberal said...

The sheer amount of effort that went into that is quite impressive, but I think a lot of the assumptions there are untenable (for instance, it seems to suggest that being a supporting character of any kind debars you from being a "strong female character").

Thais Afonso said...

I loved this chart, but I was a little confused that they used Nancy from Enchanted as the stereotype 'Bitchy Fiancée' because she is one of the less bitchy that I've seen in movies. Maybe it's because I love Idina, but I find Nancy so adorable.

My mind always go straight to SJP in Family Stone when it comes to bitchy fiancee, even though I love the character too.

Now, how awesome it is that there are two Firefly characters?

Hayden said...

I'm surprised "cinematic nun" didn't appear as a trope on this flowchart. First divide them into "Mother Superiors" (Meryl, Maggie Smith, Peggy Wood) and young waifs who happen to be gorgeous (Audrey Hepburn, Amy Adams, Julie Andrews). Then divide them into nuns who sing and nuns who do not sing. Then separate the nuns who leave the convent to get married.

Then make a special category for Susan Sarandon because Sister Helen Prejean was none of these things.

Andrew R. said...

Ha, that was funny. I agree with Hayden about the nuns.

Fernando Moss said...

And my vote for comment du jour goes to Hayden for the nun comment.

/3rtfu11 said...

I’m going to say some politically incorrect things -- Marlee Matlin won over Sigourney Weaver because she’s actually hearing impaired and not just “acting”. I don’t know if vote splitting caused Sigourney’s double lost for 1988 -- but I’m certain Jodie Foster’s graphic and prolonged rape scene secured her win.

okinawaassault said...

I checked a few movies I've seen recently. Olive from Easy A passes this, right? Unless she's an 'ideal woman' which, a girl who wears skimpy outfits wouldn't be, right?

Carmen said...

is there a male version of this? Love to see it!

jessica said...

I like the chart, but also find it disappointing. Maybe it's just the examples they used, but I think they have to stretch sometimes to conclude that certain characters are certain types.

Then again, there were some characters I could think of that fit into the flowchart with sad/funny ease.

Volvagia said...

One of the characters I can think of that would satisfy the chart to "strong female character" is Mabel Longetti, another is Sara Goldfarb. (I know some say: Doesn't she represent the idea of addiction? Truth: Everyone in Requiem represents the idea of addiction. So maybe there should be yet another question: Do all the main characters represent the same idea she does? (Mostly because strong is really only relative to the story it's contained in.) Other than that, perfect flow chart.