be loud⚡️ be you !
Decided to Woman Up and Embrace the Razor
To help prepare for my upcoming brain surgery, I decided to just shave the part of my head where they’d be cutting into. Decided it would help me get an idea of what my hair would be like.
Needless to say, we had a brief scare halfway through when I secondguessed whether or not i gave her the right side of my head to shave!
Fia – 15/07/2020
Last week, I watched Spies in Disguise, an action comedy animated film that came out in December 2019, with characters voiced by Will Smith and Tom Holland. Before I begin criticising it, I should say that I absolutely loved it. The characters were interesting and well developed, the story was easy to follow and fun to watch, and most of the jokes made me laugh out loud.
As an aspiring scientist myself, I was especially pleased to see the way science was brought into the spotlight (something which unfortunately doesn’t happen often in entertainment media) by Tom Holland’s character, Walter. I loved Walter. He was probably my favourite character of the film. Not only is he always passionate about science (which probably made me very biased in his favour), he is also wildly different from your typical action film male character. Walter is not physically strong and relies entirely on his brain to get him out of dangerous situations. He is also very close to his pet pigeon Lovey, adores pigeons in general, and enjoys Korean romance dramas. And most importantly, he repeatedly refuses to fight fire with fire and always seeks the solution that involves the least violence. Basically, nowhere near the traditional masculinity often depicted in this genre. He sets a precedent. I feel a tremendous joy for all the little boys and all the men who watched this film and came out of it having found a role model in Walter, knowing that they did not have to aspire to yet another representation of toxic masculinity, and instead could find joy in being kind, in being weird, in being themselves.
But I can’t help but wonder – what if Walter had been a woman instead of a man?
This is not to say that there are no inspiring women in important roles in this film. The spy agency itself is led by a woman, Joy (Reba McEntire), who keeps her cool in the tensest of situations and who recognises her mistakes. There is also Marcy (Rashida Jones), a BIPOC woman and funny, cat-loving badass who strives to fight for what’s right and refuses to allow corruption in the agency – although she does spend a large part of the film wrongly accusing the main character of being a villain and thus accidentally becoming somewhat of a villain herself.
Furthermore, Walter’s “tragic backstory” is centred around him being bullied and belittled by his peers for being a “weirdo” due to his passion for science and his creative, out-of-the-box approach to design weapons made to destabilise the enemy rather than harm them; he finds himself marginalised due to his open-minded pacifist views that the spies do not share. But now imagine how much stronger a female Walter’s backstory would have been. For every scene in which Lance (Will Smith) tells Walter that he has no place in the fight, we could have had Lance tell her to be a good girl and go back home – and of course her calling him out on his sexism and refusing to be treated like that. Because she would be a girl who grew up hearing and experiencing the stigma and stereotypes about women not being smart enough to go into STEM fields. A girl who has been through years of not being taken seriously, whether this be as a woman in science or as a passionate pacifist. A girl who has had enough of all of this and is determined to prove her ideas are worth listening to.
Another one of Walter’s character defining aspect is his close relationship to his mother, Wendy, who supports his ambitions for a less violent world – it would have been very interesting to see Wendy supporting her daughter’s aspirations knowing what it will be like for her as a woman in a largely male dominated field. Similarly, at one point of film Marcy has a conversation with Walter in which she tells him she knows how much it’s hurt him to be viewed as a “weirdo”, and she promises to help and support his work at the agency. This is another plot point that could have been made more interesting had Walter been a woman – Marcy could have directly empathised with her, woman to woman, which in my opinion would have given a lot more depth to both characters and to their relationship (we love to see women supporting women!)
And of course, as a role model, female Walter would have inspired so many. Seeing a woman in science would have been crucial not only for all the little girls watching, but also for all the boys to understand that science is not just for them, as is unfortunately illustrated by the astonishingly disproportionate ratio of male to female scientists that children are exposed to in their education (of course, there are and always have been women in STEM fields, but it is not enough for them to only exist if they are never actively talked about and presented as role models). It would also have been amazing if the film addressed the discrimination that women face in science – not to mention, action films in general are an extremely male dominated genre, so to have a woman in a main role would also have been very important and empowering from that perspective.
However, although it features a very diverse cast of characters, Spies in Disguise never once actually addresses sexism or racism – perhaps the film exists in an alternate universe where these have been eradicated, or never existed in the first place (this universe already gives humans the possibility to shape-shift into pigeons and back, so who knows)? But regardless of whether or not it is an alternate universe, the film was made to be viewed by an audience that lives on this version of Planet Earth, where these problems are unfortunately very much real and present in every aspect of our lives – so really they should have been discussed, even without a female Walter.
And even though I do love Walter as he is and think he already makes a huge difference, even though the film did not address the systemic social prejudice that most of the characters would have encountered in our universe, I still believe that seeing a woman as a confident, passionate, and dedicated scientist would have sent a very necessary message to all members of the audience and would have no doubt inspired many.
But in the end, Spies in Disguise remains a wonderful film as it is – and hopefully in the future we will have greater and better representation of science in pop culture, and especially of women in science.
I’ve seen a lot of people on social media in the past few weeks getting upset because people of colour, women, and other minorities aren’t prominent in main, gratifying roles in TV/movies.
WELL, my people, I’m about to let you in on my little secret. It’s called Science Fiction and it’s been a dear friend to me since I was a small child.
You want likeable female characters in main roles with positions of power? Stargate. Stargate: Atlantis. Star Trek: Voyager. Doctor Who.
You want likeable main characters portrayed by people of colour?
Star Trek. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: Enterprise. Doctor Who.
And these are just the big science fiction TV franchises. There are SO MANY MORE.
YES - this type of equality shouldn’t be limited to science fiction. BUT while you’re waiting for the world to change - give science fiction a chance.
Friendship never ends ❤️
Okay, but can we all agree that Ushas helped Millennia to dye her hair blue the first time?
Anne with an E (2017-2019)
Essa Cena… Prissy Andrews ícone ✨
Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly ♥️
🍊 mandarin mansion🍊
ITS NOT ENOUGHT TO NOT HIT WOMAN !!!