But let’s call a spade a spade. The ineluctable regularity of the dead-mother, fun-father pattern is not just womb envy at work, and not just aggression against the breast; it’s Mickey’s glove displacing the maternal teat. It’s misogyny made cute.
Part of the appeal of post-apocalyptic and sci-fi plots is that they take place in a different, reset world where all bets are off. So why do so many of them still play by the same antiquated rules when it comes to portraying women? Sure, you’ve got two successful dystopian franchises in The Hunger Games and Divergent that can actually boast female protagonists, but both of those series have made a pointed effort to stay out of the summer movie season entirely. More often than not, women are an afterthought in our wannabe blockbusters, an endemic problem that Hollywood still doesn’t know how to handle.