The Protagonist’s Diet
November 24, 2010 3 Comments
With the recent news that Disney has decided to close down the princess factory due to the fact that girls just weren’t a big enough audience, and even repackaged Rapunzel into Tangled, complete with male protagonist and Bourne-style fight scenes to lighten the stench of icky girldom, I am have been doing some thinking about my diet.
If little girls, aka half the population of children, are just too small of a stake to make films for, then why service the other half at all? Ah yes, that old chestnut about how boys resist building themselves into female narratives, but girls, out of sheer survival (I’m talking cozy survival here, like multiplex-entertain-me survival), quickly patch themselves in to male narratives with little flinching. Meaning, if I have twins, a boy and a girl, there is no way as a parent I could take them both to The Princess and the Frog, but I could def have a grand family day at Toy Story.
And of course this extends to our grown up selves. I’ve never heard a man willingly relate to Meg Ryan, thought lots of women have taken on the journeys of George Clooney as the thinking person’s everyman.
In this past month, I have given up coffee, booze, refined sugar, white flour, red meat, eggplant, tomato, dairy, and white potatoes. Also raw onion, grapes, and all spicy meals.I have done this great reduction under my acupunturist’s orders, in an effort to be less of a bitch (she says my liver is inflamed). I miss everything, but not enough to really go out and get it. I also wake up more easily, and have better breath.
What if our movie diets changed in a similar, and equally radical manner? If girls and women aren’t enough of a market share because they willingly do what their male counterparts won’t, what happens if we stop doing it? What if we stop going to see movies that have only a leading male protagonist? We don’t go see them with our kids, our families, on dates, or on rainy afternoons. We don’t take our brilliant nieces or nephews to see Untangled.
I find this idea grim. I love movies and TV, and would hate to lose such a large pleasure. Hearing somebody proclaim they can’t go see a movie because of it’s lack of female protagonists would be as irritating as hearing me order food at a restaurant now (hold the dairy, tomato, and oh, is there white flour used in the bun?) But, if, like booze and red meat, you got to kick it to win it, then maybe it’s worth the hiatus?
I’m not sure I can go on this movie diet alone. It could only work if it was a huge boycott. So huge that it could end quickly, and we could feast again. This time happily gorging on the awesomeness of entertainment that admits we are a fucking large piece of the puzzle.
We are what we eat, after all. And I’d love to be a real protagonist someday.