Even before Angelina’s portrayal, Maleficent has always been one of my favorite characters. She’s so witty and in control…so intentional. Of course, she was evil – but I had been raised on stories like Wicked and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, so it felt okay to admire certain aspects of her persona…and I was more than delighted with the perspective provided by Maleficent.
As I would imagine any logical person would assume, this movie, designed to explain the relationship between Maleficent (a female fairy) and Aurora (also a female), focused primarily on two strong female characters. This probably makes sense to most people, but, as I have recently learned, not everyone.
In a post titled “The Importance of Gender Roles and The Problem with Maleficent,” one blogger writes about how men were snubbed in the movie – how Prince Philip’s role was so small he might as well not have even been in the movie at all. Well, that opinion is interesting to me. In Disney’s original telling of Sleeping Beauty, the only really developed characters were the fairies. Prince Philip’s role was minimal and Aurora only appeared for about 18 minutes in the 75-minute movie for which she was the title character. The real difference is that, while Prince Philip’s role remained the same, two of the female roles became much more dynamic.
Now, I could understand concern if this was the case for the majority of movies. It would absolutely be harmful to pretend all stories revolve around women and that women are the only ones daring enough to do interesting things. However, this is not the case. So to those who are offended by a single movie telling the story of two women, I invite you to put your ego aside and get over it.