Everywhere on the net that I go where any discussion of media takes place, people get upset whenever someone takes a critical look at the roles the women play in any one piece of media. But Caroline Siede has the perfect explanation in her most recent AV Club article titled, If you like Return of the Jedi, but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism:
“Return Of The Jedi is great, but the Ewoks are so annoying.” That’s a pretty common refrain from Star Wars fans. In fact there are whole fan edits dedicated to removing the little fuzzy bears from the film’s climax; I can only assume they’re made by the most hardcore of Star Wars lovers. The idea that a movie can be good despite its weaker elements is one of the most basic tenets of film criticism. Yet when it comes to dissecting films from a feminist viewpoint, we seem to have trouble keeping that in mind.
When I tweeted about my frustration with the female characters in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (one human, one primate, both of whom contribute very little to the plot), a friend replied, “Sorry to hear it’s a bad movie.” But it isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it was one of my favorite action blockbusters of last summer. Yet my specific feminist frustrations were extrapolated into a larger condemnation of the film. No one assumes that critiquing the Ewoks means you dislike Star Wars. So why did my complaints imply I hated Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes?