Monday, July 14, 2014 - 18:57

The News Minute | July 14, 2014 | 6.40 pm IST

Online media are awash with comments on whither feminism in animated films. The trigger for the debate? How To Train Your Dragon 2 and the character of the protagonist’s mother.

Valka is the protagonist Hiccup’s mother and she is introduced for the time in the film. Pardon the team at The News Minute if the details are sketchy. This is consideration of people who haven’t watched the film.

So the online media are furiously debating whether or not the film is feminist. At The Dissolve, Tasha Robinson argues that female characters in films are often superficially projected as strong independent and “interesting” characters, but the writers of the film appear to lose steam in developing the characters further.

This was countered by a piece by Aja Romano in The Daily Dot titled “Why ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ is a radical feminist triumph”. The writer argues: “In absolutely every other Hollywood version of the HTTYD 2 narrative, Hiccup's discovery of his mother's two-decade-long absence would have resulted in an explicit shaming of her choices and a prolonged "how could you abandon me?" confrontation that would probably have ended with her breaking down in tears and Hiccup's eventual acceptance and forgiveness of her inexplicable absence all this time.”

And: “Hiccup instantly and immediately recognized that his mom's choices were her own choices, and that they were obviously valuable and important. At no point did the narrative shame Valka for rejecting her role as a mother and a housewife. Instead, she not only got to make the coolest entrance, but basically was presented as the most unbelievably cool character we've seen in an animated film in ages:”

For more watch the film and decide