Feminism and relatable characters

Today I started reading a review of Brave. It mentioned a little boy had no one to relate to in the film. Oh, boo hoo.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I stopped reading the review when it became evident that it contained copious spoilers. But I may as well have just stopped at that point. I mean come on. “No relatable boy characters” is the first thing that comes to mind?

And yet I’ve never seen this reviewer comment on any perceived lack of relatable female characters.

(This reviewer a writer I have enjoyed for many years, but he is occasionally sexist. Maybe unwittingly. I’m just baffled.)

Women have had to relate to male characters in stories pretty much since the beginning of storytelling. Do you really think we relate to the hot chick who is only in the film to give the guy someone to rescue? All the great adventure stories, traditionally, have had male heroes, and so we’ve just had to relate to those guys.

We have “women’s lit”, but that’s philosophy, us trying to figure out who the hell we are. It’s not entertainment.

There have been some excellent exceptions in recent decades, thanks to forward-thinking storytellers, but most movie heroes are still guys. Think about Marvel’s Avengers. Which team members got their own movies? (Granted, the superhero genre is flawed in general because it’s built on stories written decades ago about a bunch of white guys.)

Upshot: When someone who gets all the stories suddenly doesn’t have one story and starts complaining about it, I just have to laugh. Or cry.

Speaking of disappointing movies, I watched X-Men: First Class, and why do we still have token black guys who get predictably killed off?! Reminds me of how I immediately knew who that guy in Men in Black III was, because, well, he was black. Not to be too spoilery. Or pessimistic.