Tag Archives: feminism

Women in Film – Part 2 – 2017 Analysis

So if women built on momentum in 2016, what is happening this year? A fair amount, given that the “summer blockbuster” season for 2017 started in early March with Fox’s Marvel X-Men entry Logan and reboot film Kong: Skull Island. Women play principle roles in both those movies – young Dafne Keen playing a mutant girl with Wolverine-like abilities, and rising player Brie Larson is in the new Vietnam-era set Kong as an intrepid war photo-journalist, along with Tian Jing playing a biologist.

Some other action movies have already rolled out in the last two and a half months as well, as the former dumping ground of the new year has become a potentially fertile time period. The two reigning queens of the horror action films, Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich, have returned with Underworld: Blood Wars (which was pushed forward from its original October 2016 release date,) and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Jovovich’s final film for the game tie-in franchise. The new Resident Evil racked in $307+ millions on only a $40 million budget and still going, for an all-time high for the franchise. Underworld: Blood Wars has had a slower start, but brought in over $81 million on an even smaller budget and still going globally. The two actresses together also got some extra press for their work in these successful but often dismissed franchises, since media has noticed that women are now taking point just a tiny bit more in hit action and SFF films.

On a slightly different spoke of the action wheel, Disney’s live action musical version of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, had a record-breaking opening weekend with over $170 million domestically and has earned over $392 million in world box office. That’s good since the budget for the film was quite huge with the motion capture effects, and they estimate it might reach the billion dollar mark. Disney doing live action alt versions of its animated princess classics has so far been nothing but extremely popular, so more transformation of the vault properties are planned, as well as things like the up-coming 2018 Mary Poppins sequel. That’s going to give quite a few up and coming actresses spotlight roles backed by Disney’s machine.

The horror franchise of The Ring finally got its new one out, Rings starring Matilda Lutz. Rings has brought in over $81 million on a $25 million budget. And on a smaller scale, Before I Fall, adapted from the hit YA novel, stars Zoey Deutch and a female-heavy cast with a story of a teenager who relives the day of her death over and over, trying to change things. It hasn’t brought much money in yet, but has had a limited release.

In addition to Fifty Shades Darker bringing in audiences for nearly $375 million on the psychodrama front, women have so far this year played key roles in hits xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, The Great Wall, The LEGO Batman Movie, horror thriller Split, John Wick: Chapter Two, sleeper horror hit Get Out, and kid-friendly adventure Monster Truck. There’s also been a cluster of high grossing global Asian films, such as Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga and the animated film Your Name, in which women are doing major leads.

But what are the big up-coming films for the rest of the year with women leads? Chief among these for 2017 is first off Wonder Woman, out in June, starring Gal Gadot — the movie we’d come to believe would never actually happen as nervous studio executives just weren’t sure about risking big budget girl cooties. But DC Comics is in a film franchise arms race with Marvel/Disney, with The Justice League of which Wonder Woman is an integral part to be its answer to The Avengers. And DC is getting to beat Marvel to the punch with having the first woman-led film in their franchise, since Marvel’s Captain Marvel movie got pushed back to make room for Spider-Man being incorporated into their schedule and the Black Widow movie isn’t yet on the timetable. So they’ve poured quite a lot into promoting the film, with appealing trailers, and expectations are high for the first live action film of the most famous female superhero. Which of course raises the specter of studios possibly again blaming all actresses if Wonder Woman isn’t a blockbuster, and using that to try and nix future woman-led superhero movies as too risky. At this point, however, the momentum seems unstoppable – the machines of these comics franchises are just too big to risk leaving out the women. So Wonder Woman gets her movie shot and that’s a high water-mark for actresses in action.

No, I don’t know why they went with her kneeling either.

 

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Filed under Movies/TV, SFFH, Women

A Link to a Cool Magazine Issue with some Diversity Links (Dumping Days)

Back last summer, Lightspeed Magazine did a very cool issue of the magazine called “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” featuring stories from women SF writers and a lot of articles about women in science fiction and the issues female writers and fans face in the field. I meant to feature it at the time, but life happened. You can still check it out at the link above. There’s also a lovely Twitter feed “article” — becoming a new art form that — from SFF writer Seanan McGuire about what the issue of the magazine means to her as writer and fan.

Of course not everybody was able to get into the spirit of the thing. Old fashioned sexist Dave Truesdale, who apparently runs a site called Tangent Online, whined about the issue’s existence and assembled panels of others to “review” the issue’s non-fiction articles by whining about their existence. This irked a number of people into writing very fun articles about the issue and that critiquing site’s usual sexist commentary on the very idea of it, the kind of rhetoric heard all the way back by Mary Shelley when she published Frankenstein. Amal El MohtarE. Catherine ToblerJohn O’Neill of Black Gate Magazine, and Rachel Acks were the ones I found the most astute and Natalie Luhrs was both astute and offers up interesting related links.

On a similar front of encouragement and documenting discrimination, Gail Simone did a great piece for women creators in comics and women creators in general. My favorite quote from it:

“I have many times seen advice given to women that essentially equals, “smile and don’t upset anyone.” This is the world’s worst advice, and the people who say that to you? Make no mistake. They are the enemy, regardless of gender. Don’t even bother to engage them, just go around them as they try to grab your legs and pull you down.”

Bestselling fantasy author Carrie Vaughn also does a great piece about writing “tough” female characters and the stereotypes we socially hold about them.

And at Vox.com, Susannah Locke did a fascinating interview with scientist Sarah Richardson, author of the book Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome. The book tackles the actual facts about our biological sex regarding our DNA and Richardson talks about the social biases about gender that have skewed biological research and had to be deconstructed:

“Our biological theories of sex are deeply intertwined with our cultural theories of sex and gender.”

Good stuff, so check out what interests you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under book publishing, SFFH, Women, Writing