When people say movies, shows, books, etc, with female leads can’t sell and/or don’t have a market in mainstream media I simply shake my head and think of Miyazaki. I think of his movies and how a majority of them, over the course of many years, have all starred female leads and are considered classics.
Some people seem to think that women want the world when asking for female characters in mainstream media that aren’t; stereotypes, love interests, or sex objects. These people seem to believe we’re asking some sort of impossible task and yet again I’m left thinking about Miyazaki and his amazing movies starring these amazing women.
It’s not impossible, and we’re not asking for the world. We’re asking for women, in our fiction, to be characters, to be presented as people. Not as the love interest, not as the prize the male hero wins at the end of his struggles and rides off into the sunset with, not as a collection of body parts contorted to be sexy for the male gaze. We’re asking for women to be good, to be bad, to be gray, to be heroes and villains, and morally in between. We’re asking for women to be people. To be shown as such.
When I watch Miyazaki’s films starring these women I see that. I see women, or young girls, being strong, weak, capable, hurt, upset, smart, powerful, cunning, dreaming, struggling, women who are able to drive their own stories, make their own decisions, and be the heroes of their own tales.
I see women who are presented as people.
If you need an outline on how to write women, well, take some notes from these films and learn something.