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Having seen this this afternoon and now reading the post, I’m not sure I’m in agreement. But then, I’m not sure I would have called this particularly feminist in the first place. (Then again, I’m loathe to call anything feminist—the act just invites people to tell you why it isn’t good enough, and really, I’m not sure how one movie can appropriately respond to centuries of bullshit.)
(adding my two cents: The whole “ordinary person is forced to pick up a sword and go save people” is at the heart of a lot of Western hero narratives. Many heroic tales, when stripped of the details, are nothing more than “Oh I am but a simple man who wants an ordinary life, but I shall do my duty by stopping the bad thing”. Spinning that so the hero can start from an “ordinary” that is traditionally coded as feminine (charming ye olde woodland creatures) and then transition into the standard “save the world/forest/townspeople” arc is still, IMO, plenty feminist, because we still deny the simplest of narratives to women in real life, including being respected as equals to men for such things as success in sports, politics, or arts. If we don’t allow female characters the same heroic arcs as we have long held for male characters, how are we going to build a cultural narrative that allows for woman to be equal to men in real life?
I haven’t seen this yet, but I feel I need to concur with Nei. No one would blink at an action-fantasy movie with a male lead that wasn’t “three dimensional”. But suddenly because it’s a woman, it’s not good enough to be “feminist”. As she said in chat with me, “shlock is a part of the human experience,” and therefore, women have just as much right to be in roles like this, and be lauded for them, for what the role is and what the movie is (which, by the way, isn’t required to be amazing cinema to have a strong woman). Do we need more, and better? Yes, of course. But having this is still good, and shouldn’t be cut down unless it deserves to be for failing. Not being enough is not the same as failing.