'Mockingjay's Natalie Dormer Talks Feminism & Makes an Important Point About Gender Equality in Film
Warning: This is going to be a shameless love ode to the magical fairy tale princess that is Natalie Dormer. I know that seems bizarre to say considering Dormer is best known for her badass roles, such as Anne Boleyn on The Tudors, Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, Irene Adler on Elementary, and Cressida in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. However, who says magical fairy tale princesses can't be badass? The two things aren't mutually exclusive. Dormer's statement that Game of Thrones needs more male nudity picked up a lot of attention recently, and that hilarious insight kind of overshadowed the rest of that interview. However, in the same conversation with The Daily Beast, Dormer also spoke about feminism in a way that brings a tear of joy to my eye. Although, to be fair, both feminism and Dormer bring tears of joy to my eyes all the time.
"Women are over 50 percent of the population. [Mockingjay is] one of the few films that actually represents us. What we’re aiming for in the industry is not to go, 'Girl power! Wave the flag!' We want to get to a place where the gender is irrelevant, because then it’s about the personality, and about the story," said Dormer. "What I love about Mockingjay — Part 1 is that President Coin or Cressida could have easily been played by a man, and if you look at Interstellar, the Anne Hathaway or Jessica Chastain roles would have been men years ago. I’m glad that cinema is catching up to what television has known for a while: that three-dimensional, complex women get an audience engaged as much as the men. I’m a feminist in the true sense of the word. It’s about equality."
I mean, to be fair, Dormer being a feminist is no kind of secret or big reveal. If you've been following her career — or even take a look at the kind of characters she plays — then you already knew this. However, it's been a pretty recent thing that celebrities have been practically lining up to talk about feminism and how it's about equality and not just about girl power, so the more voices that can add themselves to that din while they have the public's ear, the better. Even better is the way she relates it back to Mockingjay. Katniss Everdeen is often held up as the gold standard of female YA heroines in comparison to your Bella Swans, not because of her personality traits, but usually just because Katniss can actually fight.
So, for Dormer to say that what makes the Mockingjay film so feminist is because there's a lack of attention to gender, is because the roles filled by women in the film could just as easily have been filled by men without changing the storyline, is because the story is not about strong women but about strong characters who happen to be women is really important. It's often a mistaken perception that the desire for "strong female characters" actually means a desire for "female characters who can fight," rather than female characters with the development, importance, and complexity of their male counterparts. In one simple declaration, Dormer dispels that entire notion beautifully. As if I needed more reasons to love her.
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