I went with the family to see the new Transformers movie this weekend. Bearing in mind that it is a Transformers movie, I’d like to take note of the gender stereotypes at work. All of the characters were mere stereotypes, but I don’t think anyone expects too much depth of character in such films.
- The hard working guy who believes that right and wrong are black and white concepts but can’t seem to get his life together
- The overly objectified daughter with a secret boyfriend and life
- The daughter’s boyfriend who is good at heart but is somehow also okay with sneaking around behind her dad’s back all that time, but really loves her too.
- The bumbling friend who thinks he’s doing the right thing but never really does
- The idealist scientist lady who believes in preservation over the dollar
- The builder/mechanic/technician who has made enough money to make him both greedy and think he is God
- The disillusioned government man who is worried about money now
- The Catwoman-like Asian woman who seems capable of everything
Sure, these can be fun stereotypes. The important thing to note was that they were all there. This wasn’t a movie with a token female, though none were headliners. It narrowly passes the final requirement of the Bechdel test with a short exchange about a bomb. But it does pass, unlike many others.
In my search for whether or not the latest Transformers movie passes the Bechdel, I came across another test that I thought was great! Okay, I enjoy it more than the Bechdel because it focuses on the new phenomenon that is happening in sci-fi and fantasy right now with female characters. This is the Mako Mori test. It is named after the leading female character in Pacific Rim, which fails the Bechdel. Mako Mori asks these three questions instead:
- at least one female character
- who gets her own narrative arc
- that is not about supporting a man’s story
I like this alternative. It allows movies like The Avengers to also be credited with being “woman-friendly.” There are three amazing female characters who just don’t interact. I’m not a denouncer of the Bechdel, but I do find it difficult in some movies to rest their “friendliness” on whether women who would not normally need to interact, do. I like having the alternative, or addendum. Forcing female character to interact without their own story arc’s can cause a lot of really sexist movies to pass and then be considered “woman-friendly” when they are clearly not good images of women. Though, I do allow for the fact that some women just don’t have a good image, there should always have been a more wide variety of women portrayed. I do feel like Hollywood is catching up, but it is sad to see that it is mostly sci-fi and fantasy leading the way without the help of drama or comedy much. That’s just my unresearched opinion.