After watching Ocean’s 8, a film featuring a relatively diverse group of female leads, a film in which almost every scene passes the Bechdel Test, I felt excited. Excited about where this huge Blockbuster may redirect cinema. However, with the all-female Ghostbusters remake, and now the all-female Ocean’s remake, I’m burrowing myself more and more into the class of thought that disagrees with this mode of representation. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, and the myriad of women who accompanied her, representing various ethnicities, and backgrounds as they came, and yes, I felt empowered and entertained as I left the cinema, but I was also left with that little thought in the back of my head; why does Hollywood still not value female casts enough to give them their own stories, and not just reissued versions of male tales?
Though this film gave space for female actresses, and female representations, it failed to find a female director. So there we have it, that tiny little bit of bias that won’t allow women total control of a project. Oh, but what about WonderWoman, I can hear them screeching. Directed by a woman, yes. Screenplay by a woman? Based on a concept created and developed by a woman? Oh, God no. Similarly, Ocean’s 8 allowed one woman into the high-ranks behind the scenes – Olivia Milch was involved in the screenplay, though alongside a male counterpart, who also just so happened to be the director. So perhaps a slight difference there in the influence of their voices over the production.
I’m not suggesting that productions like these should entirely exclude men, that would be an issue in itself, but I am scoffing at the fact that two such productions, enveloped in their nuanced representations of the female, have the female influence off-camera so heavily diluted by men. And this is perhaps the issue with the concept of the remake. Surely it would be more important not to make a female James Bond, or female Ninja Turtles, but to just write developed women into these stories in the first place. Ocean’s 8 took that step well, in that it used a woman who could have just been side-stepped in the original dialogue. They focused on a sister, though not in an overlooked, forgotten about, pitying way, but in the same way as you’d probably give James Bond a brother, if you wanted to kill off the original Bond and rejuvenate the series.
It’s a step, but it isn’t the finish line. Perhaps we don’t need to remake WonderWoman and make her less overtly sexualised and more feminist and less obviously written by a man. Maybewe just need to create space for women to write characters who represent real women, and give real, entirely newrole models to young girls, and not just rejigged versions of male creations. Because women do not to aspire to being James Bond with tits, we want Nancy Drew with balls.