Do we give a pass to male characters for deplorable behavior, while we hate female characters for the vague sin of “being a b*tch”?
The folks at Overthinking.com came up with research from Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Favorite Fictional Characters. TV shows, movies, novels, the theater. Here are the results:
TOTAL CHARACTERS: 108
MALE-- 68 (63%)
Then Overthinking broke them down into character types. It’s telling what types of male/female character types we like.
MALE ACTIVES: 32/68 (47%)
MALE PASSIVES: 25/68 (37%)
FEMALE ACTIVES: 24/40 (60%)
FEMALE PASSIVES: 12/40 (30%)
We like active female characters better than passive or reactive female ones. A lot more. There is less of a spread between active and passive male characters. We like Forrest Gump better than Dexter.
The telling stat is the villain-antagonist. SEVEN of the TEN listed are women. Ugh.
The bottom line: we (at least EW) like a wide variety of male character types, but prefer our women to be two dimensionally “badass” and/or evil. Most great female characters on the EW list are doers--not thinkers or loser or funny. Great male characters, range across the entirety of human experience.
That’s what I call a bad trend in literature and movies.