I think Hollywood sometimes has a problem understanding what truly makes a strong character, especially a strong female character. Being a strong female character does not have to mean that you can kick some literal ass. Often, being a kick-ass lady can simply mean being intelligent, confident, and in control. It’s nice when lady characters fight and kick ass, but as with all things, we need diversity.
Pictured: Diverse Female Characters
We need lady characters who kick literal and metaphorical butt. Sadly, trends seem to lean towards having female characters that are fighters in order to prove their badassery. So in no particular order, I’ve compiled a list of my top five female characters who kick ass without literally kicking ass.
We at Lady Geek Girl and Friends are ardent supporters of sex workers’ rights and sex positivity. Because of this, we find the portrayal of sex workers in musicals, well, troubling at best. As with many other forms of media, prostitution is shown as pretty much the lowest possible rung a woman can reach. Sometimes it’s used as a code word that means ‘she has a tragic backstory’; sometimes it’s used to show just how low she has been brought. Either way, if you’re a sex worker in a musical, odds are you’re gonna have a bad time.
Fantine from Les Miserables probably comes to mind first. Fantine, left with no other way, is forced to turn to prostitution. Her compatriots, who all seem to be hookers with hearts of gold sing raucously about their trade at first and seem to be pretty content with their lot, but as Fantine’s situation worsens, their lyrics as well as her lyrics get more and more tragic:
[Ensemble] Lovely ladies, going for a song
Got a lot of callers but they never stay for long
[Fantine] Come on, captain, you can wear your shoes
Don’t it make a change to have a girl who can’t refuse
Easy money, lying on a bed,
just as well they never see the hate that’s in your head
don’t they know they’re making love to one already dead?
Brace yourselves, mesdames et monsieurs, citoyens et citoyennes, gamins et gamines:
I have a really visceral response to anything about this movie. The first time I saw this trailer a few days ago, I may have cried a little, I was so overwhelmed. My exact response was “I WORDS AND HEAD EXPLODING”, which I think accurately sums up my feelings in the most coherent way possible.
The more level-headed Fiyero3305 has pointed out to me some issues with this movie, such as the fact that there are no French actors in an adaptation of a classic French novel and that the casting itself sort of just happened without much auditioning or anything, but I am just so happy that Taylor Swift isn’t Eponine that I am looking past that for now.
And this trailer in and of itself: I’m so happy that they chose to make Fantine the central feature of it, with her song tying together the myriad snippets of character introductions. I’m happy about the barricade and the way they managed to introduce most of the named characters in the trailer without it seeming crowded (Les Mis is a very crowded musical). I’m loving the scenery and the costumes and the—well, pretty much everything. Any thoughts on this from the peanut gallery?