comScore List of Female Characters Was Written by Nerds | The Mary Sue
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Top 100 Female Characters Includes a Carnivorous Plant, Is Clearly Written by Fanboys

If we got angry about this kind of thing we'd be angry all the time

When you woke up and came to our site today, I’ll bet you had no idea you’d be told that Audrey 2, the plant from Little Shop of Horrors that eats human flesh, was among one of the top 100 female characters of all time! (Fact: Many plants are actually hermaphrodites, so maybe there’s nothing wrong here.) But according to a list published last month by British film geek site Total Film, Audrey 2 is a lady.

The list was broken down on The Double R Diner, where it’s pointed out that most of the women are not listed with their full names, half of them are victims of some kind, a third have been sexually victimized, and only four of them are not white. (As far as “Miss” Audrey 2 goes, six of the characters listed are not human, and three are not even “humanoid.”) The analysis goes further, and the site proclaims Total Film to be totally sexist. Ehhhh, I’m not quite ready to go there.

While there are certainly some questionable choices for this list (like a freaking plant, for example), consider this: The film industry has only existed for about 100 years. That might seem like a long time, but think of how it’s taken centuries of progress for people to change their opinions about gender roles. This list goes back to the Golden Age of Hollywood and yes, roles for women often entailed them being objectified, victimized, etc. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but I am saying that for the most part, we have learned from this. There are still damsels in distress, but there are also strong heroines who can stand up for themselves.

But this is a whole other discussion. This is about calling Total Film sexist. I wouldn’t call it sexist. I would call it evident that the list was written by a bunch of fanboys. Many of the characters seem to have been chosen for their “hotness,” “sexiness,” “f*cked up sexiness,” etc. I mean, when you name Stifler’s mom from American Pie as one of the Top 100 Greatest Female Characters, it’s pretty obvious why. There are some characters on this list that were 100% absolutely some of the best female characters of all time, such as Marge Gunderson in Fargo, Shoshanna Dreyfus in Inglorious Basterds, and Margot Tannebnaum in The Royal Tannenbaums. And then there are entries that most likely came about after versions of the following conversation:

“Soooo … We should put [fill in the blank popular female movie star] on this list.”

“Oh, I loved her in [fill in the blank third-most-popular movie role]! She was so hot/cute in that!”

Either that, or:

“Man, remember that hot girl who was in that one movie …? What was her name? She should totally be on this list!”

If there were women working on this list, they probably weren’t involved in entries like those. It doesn’t mean that Total Film is sexist, it just means they are geeky fanboys who lust over girls. That doesn’t even make those guys sexist — it makes them heterosexual.

There are more enlightened men out there who would not put Catwoman/Selina Kyle on their list of female characters for the catsuit alone. (Total Film’s text: “…for the sake of this article, it’s all about the catsuit.” Yeah, thanks guys.) While Total Film’s list may not appeal to half of its audience and is clearly short-sighted in some cases (Jessica Rabbit? Pssshht, how obvious of them …), there is no reason to consider it definitive. This is a list by a bunch of nerds.

And yes, there is an issue concerning the roles written for women (or lack thereof), but at least now, we’re talking about them. It’s happening slowly, but it is happening.

Personally, we should all be offended by a 100-page slideshow more than anything.

Oh, and if anyone knows if Audrey 2 was indeed intended to be a lady, I will stand corrected.

(The Double R Diner)

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