By Nicole Jane Duncan
In modern cinema, it seems some writers still hang onto the concept of women being portrayed as just another plot device to gain attention of the male characters. But I’m starting to believe that we are moving on from thinking female characters are just vapid features with a pretty face and nothing interesting to say. In some films, women are not simply just flesh and bone to be looked at and admired. The following is my review of “Pitch Perfect,” the 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore that follows an all-girl college a cappella group.
What “Pitch Perfect” does well is challenge typical female character clichés. The character Cynthia-Rose goes against the social norms of what a girl should look like, her short hair being the most obvious. When she is preparing to audition, one of the male characters refers to her as ‘dude.’ She sighs to express her annoyance, to which the male character says ‘It’s not a dude.’ I should point out that many of the male characters in the vocal group make sexist comments, but the female characters won’t stand for it.
Another character that challenges what society says women should be like is Stacie, whose sexuality defines much of her character. The fact that this film portrays her sexuality as a positive is significant because we don’t typically see that. More often than not we are saddled with the idea that such behavior, especially from a woman, is wrong, and this idea of ‘slut shaming’ is pushed forward. Stacie is a sexualized female character who embraces her choices, giving a clear message that ‘this is my body and I will do with it what I want.’
In most comedies, the ‘fat’ character is usually ‘a joke,’ however ‘Fat Amy’ is no punch line. She is a witty, but she is a confident female character who sends out this message of being body positive to girls who may feel insecure about their figures. Like Amy, Chloe is a body confident woman. In one scene she is naked and tells the protagonist Becca: “I’m pretty confident, about all this,” referring to her body.
It seems that although stereotypes are being used to portray these female characters, the writers are specifically challenging the traits that come with the type. Instead of making them hollow shells of a character, they are being given depth and substance.
What do you think?
Photo credit Universal Studios.