The LOTR Movie Site
October 20, 2000

The 'Political Correctness' of the Female Character
Gary N.

I believe I understand the debate over the inclusion of stronger female characters in the movie despite the fact that they did not play (obvious) strong roles in Tolkien's LOTR. I will not attempt to argue whether Tolkien would have included more significant female roles were he to write his incredible works today; but I would like to present my own observation.

I find the current movement to modify great works of literary art in a manner that makes them "politically correct" personally distasteful. I certainly don't know whether the author would share my view, and at least as far as deceased authors are concerned no one else does either.

Indeed, we can offer "politically correct improvements" to the presentations of such works as LOTR, Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" or "Tom Sawyer," and many of the Dickens' classics (which commonly, but not always, depict women in a stereotyped, subservient role). Do such changes make the works more acceptable to some groups in our society? Perhaps. Do they improve the quality of the work? I don't believe so. Rather, I think such changes are merely attempts of certain societal groups to enhance their cultural standing by changing their depiction in great works of art.

Mine may be labeled a purist view; but I believe that the great literary works of art are not considered great because they reflect our current cultural gloss. They are considered great because they present stories that transcend what is deemed culturally acceptable at present. They reach to and stimulate certain immortal emotions and feelings that are shared by all, regardless of race, sex, or creed.

So Tolkien, or so many of the other great authors, didn't write to current approved or accepted standards of sexual/racial depiction? Look to the soul of their art, not the facial qualities, and let the great works stand in the manner that made them great. I would laugh if any of the contributors to this board (or the makers of the LOTR movie) presented themselves to the reading world and said "I can write the LOTR better than Tolkien!"