Mad Max: Fury Road came out last year and changed the face of action movies forever. The female protagonist made shock waves, not only for the fact that she was a badass with a vagina but also an amputee who was out in the waste showing everyone everywhere that girls can go just as hard as boys. The movie was great and although I enjoyed Furiosa’s character, my level of excitement wasn’t quite as high.
The reason is simple. I don’t get amped for magical white girls. Sorry. Not sorry.
Representation is huge. It’s not enough to just see another female bodied person on the screen and call it fair. There needs to be nonwhite women for all the little girls of color to look up to as well. Which is why, as excited as I was for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was disappointed to see that Lupita’s character was completely CGI.
Rey was GREAT. Very strong, capable female character that ran circles around the boys. Awesome. General Leia was GREAT. Strong, in charge. Awesome. But where was the hero that looked like my daughters? Where was the hero that looked like me?
This is an area that is still really lacking especially in the world of science fiction and fantasy. As we’re getting more and more female heroes (thank you YA lit!) we’re still greatly lacking in representations of color when it comes to women.
Yes, Katniss is out there shooting down the oppressive government. Rey is wielding a lightsaber like it’s nobody’s business. Black Widow is saving Captian America’s butt constantly. Furiosa is using Mad Max to steady her gun and all those things are great but where are all the brown girls doing things?
In the worlds of fantasy and science fiction, we don’t exist as much more than sidekicks. Backup for the main character is not representation. Covering us with CGI and paint is not representation. So yes, it is exciting to see a woman on the big screen doing the things usually reserved for the male hero but that doesn’t mean that overall battle for representation is over. While you’re cheering for her, don’t forget there are little geeky brown girls watching and they need heroes too.