One of my favorite parts about the movie Arrival, is the way in which the plot portrayed the role of the female protagonist. When aliens descended to earth, the military, scientists and government agencies from all around the world are called to come together and figure out why they have arrived and if the aliens pose a threat. This is undoubtedly a stressful scenario, one in which many would take less time asking questions and more time planning a preemptive attack. So often in movies or books like these, it is those who are holding the guns seen as heroes, the ones who defeat the aliens in a blast of glory.
What made this movie different is that not only was the woman the hero of the story, but it was not at the sacrifice of her womanhood. In fact, it was her vulnerability, patience, love, and empathy that made her stand apart from her allies. She was the hero BECAUSE of these things and not despite them.
So when thinking about articles like this one or just about gender diversity in fields typically dominated by men in general, it’s important to consider the purpose of diversity. Of equality. It isn’t enough to say “well a woman can do whatever a man can do so she deserves a spot”. It is neither just a hire of necessity because a CEO needs to check off an item on his diversification list. It is more about the value that a woman brings to any company or organization she enters. The experience that ONLY a woman can bring. We should spend less time trying to prove that we are equal to men and more time acknowledging that yes there are differences between us, but those differences add just as must value to the world as our male counterparts. Man is no longer the bar to which we must hold ourselves.
It’s not until companies and organizations realize this that we will have true equality in the workforce. Until the need for a female perspective, for MANY female perspectives, is seen as imperative to running a successful business, organization, or government.
And with regard to film, another great example of this is Mad Max: Fury Road. I really hope the success of movies like these will provoke the entertainment industry to continue writing and creating female characters that are complex, feminine, and most certainly, heroic. And then I hope they begin to cast more women of color in those roles.