Kaijis & Writing Tools

Pacific Rim vs. Women

In case you missed it, there's an argument going on about whether or not women were underrepresented Pacific Rim. I caught the movie the second night it was out and while I loved it, I don't know why there's even a debate. Women were absolutely underrepresented in the movie. No question.

People who disagree with my view are holding up the character of Mako Mori as proof of why I'm wrong. Mako was a main character of the film, but she was the only female character with a speaking role aside from one other woman who I'm pretty sure was just cussing in Russian. The golden roles of the movie all belonged to men, and it's not like there were only a few to go around:

  • Raleigh Becket
  • Stacker Pentecost
  • Newton Geiszler
  • Hermann Gottlieb
  • Chuck Hansen
  • Herc Hansen
  • Hannibal Chau

Absolutely any of those roles could have been played by women. But the bigger retort to the Mako Mori defense is that Mako had no agency. She made no decisions, was responsible for none of the plot, did nothing to change her world. Raleigh disobeyed orders and saved lives. Stacker held Mako back. Newton acted like a jackass. Hermann ultimately decided to help said jackass. Chuck started fights. Herc ended them. I'm still not sure what Hannibal Chau was doing, but whatever it was, he was following his own orders. As for Mako, she followed Stacker and Raleigh's orders, performed heroically only when told to do so, was sheltered and saved by men, and that was it.

I loved Pacific Rim, but it utterly failed the Bechdel test, and it is guilty of under-representing women.

Polyvore as a Writing Tool

I found a new writing tool! In the most unlikely of places, too. And it's going to sound really esoteric and maybe even trivial, but I have found it to be useful in creating visual aids to help me really see my characters.

The tool is an app that allows you to assemble a wardrobe collage on Polyvore. Polyvore is sort of an online shopping meta-store. You can search for "black tank top" and get results from department stores, chain stores, everything down to online-only boutiques based all over the world. I've found it useful because it's allowed me to take a scene from my book and dress up the characters in that scene. The process forces me to consider things like the practicality of what they're wearing (is it weather appropriate?) and what it says about them as a person (what kind of image are they trying to project to the world?). For some of my characters who don't ever wear outfits that are fully described, I've made collages of "daily wear" - things they wear on a normal basis, basically a 2D version of their closet.

Since my book is still a WIP, I'm going to hold onto my character collages for now, but I'll share with you the set I drew up of what I'm wearing today (roughly - only one of the items is exact):


In my character collages, I put the character's name where my name is (obvs) and where it says, "Sitting at my desk" I write the chapter number or the scene where the character is wearing the outfit. I can then upload the collages to Pinterest, drop them into Scrivner, and reference as needed.