The lonely girl

February 7, 2013

So the other day we watched ‘Free Willy 4; Escape from Pirate Cove‘.  It was cute.  Featuring Bindy Sue Irwin I thought that this would be a great movie for the girls to watch.

Happy Bindi

Happy Bindi

I made a point of highlighting all the girl’s strengths.  How resilient she was and innovative, brave and funny.

I even had a tear in my eye during the last scene when she touched her grumpy old granddad’s crusty heart as she said good-bye.

Wonderful, I thought.

And lo and behold, Steve, who has clearly absorbed my feminist rantings pointed out that there wasn’t a single other female character in the film that really had a line.

I was shocked (not only because of his astute feminist media analysis, but because it was true!)

Well, almost true.

I looked it up on IMDB and there were around 9 females out of the total 26 listed (34%) but other than the woman who had a five-line part complaining about something, I don’t think the others really had lines.

So even though this was a good story about an adventurous girl and how she overcame a significant challenge with the help of her friends, it still did a poor job of including women in the narrative.

Stunningly, it failed the Bechdel Test.*

The main character’s mother was dead (unsurprisingly) and after her dad gets injured he sends her to stay with her grandad in South Africa.  She befriends a whale (male) and a boy.  Her grandfather’s nemesis (male) had a girlfriend, but I don’t think she had a line.  In other words, the other women were all extras (i.e. ‘hostess’, ‘waitress’ and ‘girl’).

Such a shame….

* The Bechdel Test is passed when these three things are true:

a) the movie features more than one woman

b) the women talk to each other

c) they talk about something other than a man.  (And I’m pretty sure that fighting over one doesn’t count.)

3 Responses to “The lonely girl”

  1. Wendy J said

    I am *so over* children’s movies where the mothers are dead (i.e. most Disney movies). How does it help the storyline? Or rather, why does the mother have to be dead for the story to take place? SO LAME.

  2. Tara said

    I just made a blog entry about one of your previous entries about Bechdel test (http://tarajadebrown.com/alison-bechdel-and-a-damsel-in-distress/). Once again, I keep being amazed at how often Bechdel fails, even in the movies you´d think are about strong female characters. What do you make of it? It´s SO not a reality of a normal female person, but it keeps being present in majority of the movies we watch. Why? I am puzzled…

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