Brown Girls Need Heroes Too

Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Pictures

Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Pictures

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.

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4 thoughts on “Brown Girls Need Heroes Too

  1. lkeke35 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I am happy little white girls have strong female representation but I bemoan the lack of almost all WoC, in genre movies too. I expressed much the same sentiment in one of my posts:

    “Hey! Black women have power fantasies,too. Sometimes we daydream about kicking ass, taking names and being stylish, elegant and sexy, while we do that. It’s nice to see not just accurate representations of who you are on your TV screen, but representations of who you’d like to be, too.”

    At any rate, though I love Furiosa, I ain’t getting too het up over her. She’ll be forgotten in ten years. Back in the eighties, we had some strong female characters and Hollywood forgot all about that entire era over the next thirty years. Its like every ten years white women have to remind Hollywood that they like to go to the movies too.

    I always expect less of Hollywood when it comes to WoC. That way I’m never disappointed.

    • Donyae says:

      There WERE a lot of female action stars in the 80s and then it all just became a boys’ club all over again where the male heroes from that era remain iconic and the females lost to time.

  2. Ellie Maloney says:

    As a white girl, I agree with you! Probably this lack of representation was in my subconsciousness, because when I started writing my short stories sic fi mini-series, I realized (and it came to me a bit as a surprise) that my characters are black! So I even sketched them for the latest episode to make it explicit. Since I am writing without an outline, I’m looking forward how it will turn out. Here’s the link to the picture!

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