Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Turning Red and the Female Gaze
The recent Disney / Pixar film Turning Red has been widely celebrated not only for being enjoyable, but for showcasing a touching and realistic portrayal of teenage girlhood, with all its joys and sorrows. However, it also sparked an immediate negative response from a wide variety of critics saying they felt the intended audience was "too narrow" or "not relatable enough."
Women and racialized people have had to watch films intended for white men for as long as the medium has existed, and still enjoy movies without being the exact target audience. What is it about movies intended for other audiences that make otherwise enjoyable movies, such as the delightful Turning Red, so uncomfortable for the white male audience?
Adult Escape into Children's TV
Over the past few years, many TV shows designed for and marketed towards children have amassed large adult / new adult fan bases. My Little Pony, Miraculous Ladybug, Owl House, and She-Ra are some examples. What is it about children’s TV that draws older viewers in? Often these adult fandoms are active on platforms such as Reddit, do these platforms facilitate these fandoms or are the platforms merely making them more public? Or, from a different angle, does a large adult fan base have an impact on the trajectory of a children’s show? (Ex: Some of the shows listed showcased queer representation in later seasons that was largely cheered on by the older fans).
Healthy Relationships in Romantic Comedies
Romcoms are an incredibly popular genre, and some of the relationships – from the perfect meet-cute to the inevitable dramatic finale – are truly dream-worthy. But a lot of romantic comedies also feature clearly unhealthy relationships. Consider The Wedding Planner, where the male lead is engaged for the majority of the film, or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, where both sides of the couple are trying to trick one another. There are countless other examples.
It would be interesting to explore why this is. Does a relationship need to be unhealthy (or, commonly, founded upon lies) to be "funny"? Why can we set aside critical judgement of blatantly unhealthy behaviours when we’re watching these movies?
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