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.
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.)