Why can't programs with female lead characters be aimed at men/boys too?

(66 Posts)
apartridgeinapeartree Fri 09-Nov-12 14:30:23

This one annoyed me today!

DS's new favourite thing is a DVD which DP got him: "Mona the Vampire".

It's a cartoon - Mona and her friends (one girl, one boy) fight ghouls, goblins, aliens etc. To an adult viewer, it's clear it's all in their imagination, it's nicely done IMO. It's good fun and DS loves it.

It's an American cartoon, but the British marketing which comes with it has an incentive to buy more Mona DVDs - makeup.

It didn't even occur to me that it was aimed specifically at girls! DS is too young to pick up on this, but a "makeup" offer might make older boys decide it's not for them. And even if it doen't, it's clear the company marketing it see it as a girls thing.

I'm fed up with male leads being the default but female leads being a special girls/women's thing - even in children's programs! CBeebies is sadly guilty of this too sometimes isn't it? (Thinking of Tree Fu Tom for example - all the main characters are male, except one token female).

I can think of very few programs / films where the lead is female but it's aimed at a mixed audience. Can you think of any?

The wonderful Fargo springs to mind, can you think of any more to cheer me up? This is depressing!

WrathdePan Fri 09-Nov-12 18:40:56

Claire Danes in "Stardust". Aimed at everyone!grin

Well anything with Claire Danes in it is fine by me.

CaseyShraeger Fri 09-Nov-12 18:47:30

Looking at the DVD packaging (i.e. the way it was marketed): season 1 - black vest top, and not cropped, no cleavage; season 2 - sensible black 3/4 sleeved top; season 3 - sensible black 3/4 sleeved top; season 4 - high-necked sleeveless top; season 5 - tiny bit of cleavage, I suppose; season 6 - v-necked top but no cleavage; season 7 - not cropped and no cleavage but this is the only image I feel a bit hmm about as her top is cut quite low at the back and she's doing that silly looking-back-over-shoulder-at-the-camera pose.

wigglesrock Fri 09-Nov-12 18:50:48

My dd loved Wolfblood (on CBBC) She said that everyone in her class watched it, I know there were 2 leads but I think it was the main female character and her best friend that were the actual "leads".

SomersetONeil Fri 09-Nov-12 19:10:53

I guess it links in with the Bechdel test, and the fact that men routinely see their reality reflected back at them when they watch a movie or TV, but women rarely do.

And another tenuous link is the fact the JK Rowling used her initials back when she was an unknown - boys wouldn't want to read a book by a woman; all sorts of assumptions would have been made as to the content of the book. And then 3 of the 4 leads were boys. Luckily the girl has the most gumption. smile

DS (3) and DD (2) both love Dora in equal measures. Shame they felt obliged to come up with Diego to make it that bit more palatable for boys

CaseyShraeger Fri 09-Nov-12 19:34:38

The Sarah Jane Adventures - lead character was female and over 60. It was a spin-off from a series with a male lead, but I think it built up enough of its own following to count.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 09-Nov-12 19:36:14

Tracey Beaker? Know nothing about it except its name.

rosabud Fri 09-Nov-12 19:46:00

The Tom Hanks animated Christmas film with the train - Christmas Express or something? The "lead" or main character is a boy but the little girl who finds a way to include the poor and inspire the sceptical - what a strong character she is! I think there is a hint at the end, too, that she is a future president.

SamuraiCindy Fri 09-Nov-12 20:33:10

Yes, Peppa Pig as another poster said. My son and daughter both love it. I am so happy it became a huge success to slap it up CBeebies (they were pitched it and turned it down if I remember).

The Descent is a great film with an almost 100% female cast.

KittyLilith Fri 09-Nov-12 20:45:10

What about the tv series Once Upon a Time? The main characters are mainly female and all the female characters are strong in my opinion.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 09-Nov-12 21:00:31

Did everyone apart from me realise Peppa was female before they started watching it?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 09-Nov-12 21:08:58

NCG, I love Homeland and Claire Danes but it's co-led rather than female led, I'd say. Still, there's no reasonable way Brodie could be a woman, so I'll let them off grin. Definite Bechdel Test pass too.

I think mixed co-leads may be more common for general appeal, Friends for example.

I never saw My So-Called Life, was that aimed at both genders?

phoolani Fri 09-Nov-12 21:21:44

Hunted with Melissa George. Crackin'.

rosy71 Fri 09-Nov-12 22:00:19

My boys loved Peppa Pig and ds1 liked Dora the Explorer. Both of them like The Sarah Jane Adventures too.

rosy71 Fri 09-Nov-12 22:01:53

The Tom Hanks animated Christmas film with the train - Christmas Express or something? The "lead" or main character is a boy but the little girl who finds a way to include the poor and inspire the sceptical - what a strong character she is! I think there is a hint at the end, too, that she is a future president.

Polar Express? My boys enjoyed that too.

rosy71 Fri 09-Nov-12 22:03:18

Oh yes, they liked Maisy Mouse too.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 09-Nov-12 22:07:54

Maisy! DS2 likes maisy, thanks for the reminder

<adds to Xmas list spreadsheet>

nailak Fri 09-Nov-12 22:11:21

kora the avatar

that phillip pullman 1fil1m

Alcatraz? Maybe Bones? Definitely maisy mouse!

noblegiraffe Fri 09-Nov-12 22:14:59

My DS loves Tilly and Friends which recently started on CBeebies.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 09-Nov-12 22:21:27

Bones is another example of mixed co-leads, isn't it? Haven't watched it much. X-Files would have been a better example than Friends from me upthread.

WrathdePan Fri 09-Nov-12 22:24:04

Here's test of age/memory...The Champions, with Alexendra Bastedo.

WoweeZowee Fri 09-Nov-12 22:32:39

I was just going to say X Files, too. It's all about Scully's journey...

CarolynKnappShappey Sat 10-Nov-12 00:09:57

Just finished watching Underworld: Evolution. Utter tosh, but definitely a successful action series with a female lead: ditto Resident Evil; Alien.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 10-Nov-12 01:45:23

Mulan
The His Dark Materials movie

EduCated Sat 10-Nov-12 12:31:37

Was going to say Homeland too, which has already been mentioned, although it is a bit co-led rather than female-led.

Judging from FB and Twitter, New Girl seems to be popular across my male acquaintances.

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