Discussion: Feminism and YA Movies


You’ve probably heard about the recent movie, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones or whatever it’s called (sorry, don’t feel like looking up the exact title). It came out a few weeks ago and kind of bombed. Critics and many viewers didn’t seem to like the movie. I haven’t seen the movie or read the books and don’t plan on doing so after hearing about the author’s earlier plagiarism, but I plan on staying (mostly) impartial for this discussion.

This discussion came to mind after reading some tweets from Ally Carter, the author Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that I really like her series. As a result, I was kind of sad to see these tweets:

Basically, Carter is comparing disliking the Mortal Instruments movie with being anti-feminist. Now, I consider myself a fairly well-informed feminist (and when I say that, I don’t mean that I think men suck and women are automatically superior – I mean that the two genders are and should always be equal, which is the basic definition of a feminist despite the way some people view the word), so this annoys and saddens me.

It’s Carter’s right to enjoy whatever movies she wants, but I don’t like the way she seems to be trying to guilt people into liking the movie no matter what. Feminism has nothing to do with disliking this movie. Yes, there are probably a few people who look at this movie, with its female protagonist, and don’t even bother with it because of the estrogen, but the majority of viewers aren’t going to feel that way. Using feminism to sell movie tickets seems cheap and unfair.

Yes, if female-driven movies suddenly became uber-popular, Hollywood would probably be more willing to make them. However, I think that the most reliable way to get more movies about women and with women made is by making the sexes equal in other ways. People don’t take women seriously in other aspects of life, such as jobs, so why are they going to take them seriously as the stars of movies just because they earn more money than before.

If you want to see a movie, you should. Yes, buying tickets to YA movies will make it easier to get more YA movies made in the future, but that doesn’t mean that we should all run out and buy a ticket to every single YA movie. If we fund movies that we don’t enjoy, we might end up funding more movies that we won’t enjoy. We need to go to movies that we want to see and we can hope that we’ll get more movies that we like.

So, all this rambling is basically my way of saying that YA movies aren’t about feminism. If you want to see the Mortal Instruments movie, then more power to you. If you enjoy it, then that’s great, especially for you, who just spend a couple of hours watching something you liked! If you don’t want to see it or see it and don’t enjoy it, though, that doesn’t make you anti-feminist. It makes you a person who likes some movies and dislikes others, regardless of the gender of the main character.

Am I going to avoid Carter’s books in the future? I don’t think so – I love her books, and I think I can separate them from her personal views. Unfortunately, this makes me slightly wary of the author behind those books. Feminism isn’t a strategy you can use to sell movie tickets and it makes me sad when people I otherwise like seem to disagree.


6 thoughts on “Discussion: Feminism and YA Movies

    1. Of course not, which is exactly my point – just because a movie has a female or minority lead doesn’t mean you have to watch it in support. You should watch the movies you want to watch, and if you enjoy a movie because it’s awesome and has a female or minority lead, then you can praise its leads as much as you want, but it doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t watch every single movie that has a female or minority lead or focus.

      That’s why those tweets made me sad – I’m not being anti-feminist just because I don’t want to see the Mortal Instruments movie – it just means I don’t think it’s the type of movie I would enjoy and I’d rather spend my money on other things.

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