Aug. 16th, 2014

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This is a follow up on a prior entry in which we discussed a Grand Unified Theory of Female Presence. DW link

Recently in my local IRC channel a question was posed, or rather a challenge; to name a piece of SciFi/fantasy/speculative fiction in which the lead character is a mother. I posed this to the ama community but I didn't elaborate properly and several people missed the point. But I wasn't about to jump all over that because of the aforementioned lack of elaborating, and because there is absolutely value to discussing the presence of a definite mother character in any entertainment in any role (as in lead vs supporting/member of ensemble cast).

I shall now elaborate. The point being the character not just be a mother, but it is an integral aspect of her character. Not just tacked on to further the plot or to add angst points.

A great example of a male gendered version would be a movie I recently saw because I'd never see it all the way through and the lead's recent passing made me aware. Hook. The fact that Peter Banning (Pan) is a father is absolutely integral to his character and the story. As much as I loved the film, it is a terrible example of female/mother characters in the supporting roles. Peter goes back to Neverland, risking his life to save his kids. Mother simply wilts and mopes whilst they're away. This is rather faithful to the source material in style though, so it's all right. But I digress; the point being that if Peter had been female, this would be a good example.

I'd LOVE to accept Ripley of the Alien franchise, as she's an amazing strong female lead, but the fact she's a mother is throwaway backstory and doesn't inform her continuing life.

The TV show Once Upon A Time is a good example which was mentioned in comments to my ama post regarding this. I hate that it is simply out of spite, because I think they're shitty mothers. But yes. Whatsernamme's entire purpose of being in CrazyTown was to find her son. Additionally the evil queen being said son's adoptive mother is also an integral part of her character.

On a logical level I understand this disparity in female representation as a parent simply being part and parcel of the disparity in strong female roles being in existence as compared to the glut of such male roles. However it boggles me in that females are the ones who (usually) contain the damn baby factory. Dramatic fiction often uses this to portray a stronger relationship between mother and children than with their fathers, but when the woman character is fully developed and/or an ass kicker, the mother factor drops off to near non-existence.

I haven't a particularly good way to end this except in that I think this is a valuable addition to said grand unified theory, and it will definitely be something that I will be noticing/looking out for in future entertainment consumption.

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