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why couldn't there be female minions?

I try not to be a picky militant feminist killjoy, honestly. I don't try to find fault with every little thing I see. I realize the Despicable Me minions, soon to be featured in their own special movie, are just supposed to be cute and funny and lovable. So I shouldn't overthink.

But it really bothers me that there's no female minions. I watch Despicable Me with my kids, who love the minions, and it's just another example to me of the way males in this world just get to "be" and do whatever, but females can't. We have to be FEMALE.

The worst part is that the minions were introduced in a way that could have been very gender neutral - but then they were given names: Dave, Stuart, Kevin, Jerry, Tim, Mark, Phil. All traditional male. White male, I might even say... they couldn't even sneak in a "Tony" or "Darnell". Nope, that would have been too easy.

It would have also been very easy to name a minion "Sally". But they didn't. Probably because the illustrators would have assumed that Sally has to wear a bow or have sparkle fairy wings or just basically somehow not fit in, because you can't just have a woman be part of normal life, that would be insane! It would be this huge controversy, proof that those evil feminists have infiltrated the movie industry and are ruining everything, right?

A minion named Megan wouldn't have to wear a bow, guys. She could just be. She could go on a heist or drive a getaway car or go on any crazy adventure, we could laugh at her silly antics.

Instead, we get the male minions dressing up in feminine outfits as comedy, because it's just so darn funny to cross into gender stereotypes, like when Phil dresses as a maid to do housework.

Giving every minion a traditional male name just really irritates me. It says that the normal world is made of and for men, and everybody else has to have a good reason to be there. It says that you can't have a character who's female unless they can come packaged with stereotypes. And it says that we can laugh at men, but women can't be funny or entertaining.

Am I being too picky? I know someone will say I should relax, it's just a kids movie. Minion names are a really simple thing. Well if they're so damn simple why didn't anyone think to name one after a girl? If it was really simple we'd never have to say anything.

Posts from This Journal by “feminism” Tag


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 6th, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC)
You're not the only one: http://reelgirl.com/tag/despicable-me-3-minions/

Shit like this grinds my gears and makes me glad I'm not a parent.
Jul. 6th, 2015 03:29 pm (UTC)
I agree. It's really frustrating that they all have male names and seem to be male gendered. And without female minions, how do more minions come into being?
Jul. 6th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
Naming only one after a girl wouldn't have worked -- the Smurfette problem. Naming roughly half of them with girls' names, or all of them with unisex names (Chris, Sam, Alex) probably would.
Jul. 6th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
Oh Lord - as a child, you probably bitched about the smurfs until they added Smurfette, too, didn't you?

Perhaps in a sequel some of them could have a sex change, although for many militant feminists, being transgender still doesn't cut the mustard...

Of course, it doesn't bother you that Gru adopts all girls. (Nor do you take the extra effort to consider that a lot of the comedy comes from the fact that the girls are injected into a purposefully all male environment).

Just stick with "Frozen" maybe, and all the myriad Disney Princess movies, and not begrudge boys the fact that they have someone they can dress up as for Halloween?
Jul. 6th, 2015 04:02 pm (UTC)
I mean, it could just be that, as the Minions are doubtless purpose-built, artificially created beings, that they have no sex whatsoever. Their names would then be, in a real sense, a reflection of their creator's/owner's tastes, and as Gru is a male, it is natural for him to use male names. What an insensitive patriarchal jerk!!! But then, he IS a villain, right?
(no subject) - meistergedanken - Jul. 6th, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spacefem - Jul. 6th, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ironphoenix - Jul. 11th, 2015 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2015 04:06 pm (UTC)
*looks at the comment above mine*
*decides not to get into it*

I agree with you.
Jul. 6th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
I think perhaps it's because they are all clones (according to one of the mini-movies) and if the first ones were just guys (because the female minions were far too intelligent to want to work for villains when they could have it all and be their own bosses to boot) then it would make sense that only the male minions were cloned.
Jul. 6th, 2015 05:12 pm (UTC)
I was thinking they were clones too. Not knowing how cloning works, I don't know if it's possible to clone from a male to create a female.
(no subject) - spikesgirl58 - Jul. 6th, 2015 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vvalkyri - Jul. 6th, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spikesgirl58 - Jul. 6th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spacefem - Jul. 6th, 2015 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spikesgirl58 - Jul. 6th, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elfy - Jul. 6th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elfy - Jul. 6th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I thought they were sexless creations (although I have not seen this movie where apparently Gru did not create them so there's that), and Gru named them masculine names because he didn't even think about it, he's a male, so he named them male names.

I consider myself a feminist, and I never even thought about this. It does pass the Bechdel Test.

Edited at 2015-07-06 04:25 pm (UTC)
Jul. 6th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
Mentioned it above: In the movie the minions are not cloned (as in, not by Gru or other humans) and they are named all before meeting Gru.
(no subject) - sailorgarnet - Jul. 6th, 2015 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
I actually think stuff like this is more important in kids movies. I totally agree with the points you made about it reinforcing that the world is made of and for men and everyone else is just here. Kids start internalizing stuff like this from an early age. It's definitely gendered even if they are supposed to be 'sexless,' otherwise why would it be funny for one of them to dress up like a maid to do housework?
Just wow at that guy's comments... I don't even know where to begin.
Jul. 6th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC)

I absolutely agree. Kids very much absorb and act out these messages. This is a more effective way to teach "boys are people and girls are knock-offs" than outright saying it would be. If you're not okay with the overt, the covert should be even more not-okay because there is no easy way to combat it.

Jul. 6th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh so yes this... "boys are people and girls are knock-offs" is EXACTLY the words I was wanting to use to describe the feeling I get from the "default is male" characters!
Jul. 6th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
No, you're right. It wouldn't be that hard for them to make ONE character a token female. Or token-not-christian-white-name. Tho I see the clone theory above. And that angry commenter. You must have hit a nerve there... how DARE you question something. Clearly you're militant :)

Edited at 2015-07-06 05:43 pm (UTC)
Jul. 6th, 2015 09:08 pm (UTC)
sadly I'm pretty used to this, talking about feminism, this is what it means these days. You ask little calm questions and people absolutely lose their shit.

Here's where we cite Lewis' law: "The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism."
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 6th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
Bip, Squeek and Wiggle! PERFECT! :) I actually see both sides.... but it doesnt upset me or make me angry. I dont feel the need to defend either women or the movie producers... I think the minions are cute and funny and I enjoyed the movies. Loved how sweet and "soft" Gru got as he fell in love with the girls. :)
(no subject) - spacefem - Jul. 6th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 6th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC)
Or Jurassic World, where the film's female dinosaurs became male when it came time to make the merchanise.
(no subject) - yamamanama - Jul. 6th, 2015 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC)
You aren't over-reacting :-/
Jul. 6th, 2015 09:08 pm (UTC)
Interestingly, my friend has watched the movie and says sometimes they say 'Gracias' so some of them having names associated with races other than white would make sense.

To me though, Tony feels like an Irish name, with Anthony! Of course I realise you mean Antonio :)
Jul. 7th, 2015 12:23 am (UTC)
Honestly, there's no female minions because the creators didn't want female minions. Personally, I prefer an all solidified cast instead of the cast the creators want with token characters thrown in there for approval.

Also, from what I've learned working with kids, token members are much more problematic. When there is just the one female, female children feel pigeon holed. They feel like they have to be like that character even if they don't want to because that character is the only female. When a cast is all male though, females tend to look for other reasons as to why they like or want to be a certain character. It's an actual choice with thought that they put in. It's the difference between "I want to be this character because they are a girl" vs "I want to be that character because we have the same personality".
Jul. 7th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
I agree with the thought that just one female would be worse than none, but they could have easily done descriptive/androgynous names as another commented above.
(no subject) - ariellm13 - Jul. 7th, 2015 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - astrogeek01 - Jul. 7th, 2015 02:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
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