On November 29, 2017, fans felt a variety of emotions regarding the announcement of a new live-action movie, focusing solely on the two female members of Mystery Incorporated, Daphne and Velma. Many felt excited, for a new take on the franchise and for a film that had a sharper focus on the women main characters. Others were surprised, to see another live-action movie being put out with a brand new cast. Others were uncertain, about if this film would still be enjoyable even without the franchise's two central characters, Shaggy and Scooby, who have both appeared in every incarnation to date.
Before I continue this article further, I should probably reaffirm that this entire post is simply reflective of my opinions, and I am in no way trying to convince you to agree with me anywhere in this post. You are more than welcome to disagree with my argument here, as the world would be very boring if we all agreed on everything like mindless robots.
Over the last few weeks since the announcement of "Daphne & Velma," I have seen a very wide variety of opinions and feelings surrounding this film. Many are open to it and are looking forward to this potentially unique and different perspective on the franchise. Others, however, have already chosen to dismiss this movie as mere "feminist propaganda" and "preachy nonsense."
This is not to say that anyone's arguments are wrong. We all are entitled to our own likes and dislikes, and in my nearly ten years now in the Scooby fandom, I've never met a Scooby fan that says they like every Scooby-Doo episode and movie ever created. There will always be certain aspects of things we don't like, as thankfully, we all have our own unique personalities, and thus have our own diverse opinions on what makes us enjoy or not enjoy certain things.
I'd like to point out, however, that the widespread dislike which "Daphne & Velma" is already seeing less than two months after its initial announcement, is very similar to that of the dislike which "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo" received in its initial months, right after the original concept art was announced. Many of us, including myself, reacted negatively to our first look at the new series, along the lines of "WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SCOOBY?!?" There are still numerous people who dislike "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!" and find various aspects of it unappealing. What's important for us to remember though, is many of us did end up loving the witty, new take on the franchise which 'Be Cool' gave us. Many people, who initially hated the designs, and had objections to the show when it first was announced, now consider the show one of the funniest incarnations of Scooby-Doo to date. Although, it would be hypocritical not to note that there are some people who dislike 'Be Cool' (whether it was because they found the humor childish, the animation unappealing, etc.), but in my opinion, that is consistent with every show out there. Despite the widespread acclaim for "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated," some people even disliked that show due to their own personal tastes.
"Daphne & Velma" is also seeing a similar type of dislike, and as with 'Be Cool,' the film has not yet been released for people to give it a chance. This reminds me of one particular comment, which I read online before the premiere of "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!" As was consistent around the time before BCSD aired, this particular comment bashed the animation and claimed that the writers had "ruined" Scooby-Doo forever. Another person replied, simply putting in their two cents that they disliked the animation as well, but they still planned to give the show a fair chance. The original commenter replied back a few days before the show premiered, insisting that "I have given this show a chance already!" While I mean no offense to this person (and honestly don't even remember where I found the comment), by definition, it is literally impossible to give something a chance if you have never seen the show. Unfortunately, not everyone will give this film a fair chance, but I think this example does a good job illustrating how we sometimes don't give things a fair chance. If none of us had given "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!" a chance, many of us wouldn't have ever gotten the chance to fall in love with it, and understand the gang in a more three-dimensional way.
While I've highlighted the many similarities in the current dislike of "Daphne & Velma" and the previous concept art dislike of "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!", there is also a big difference as to why "Daphne & Velma" is already so widely dismissed by the Scooby fanbase. This particular issue is a bit tougher to tackle, as it has unfortunately become a somewhat charged political issue in our current world. However, as this blog is not a political debate forum, I will do my absolute best to make what I am writing as objective and non-biased as possible.
It's somewhat interesting, to see how much the phrase "feminist-focused" has become synonymous with this movie. For those of you who aren't aware, that particular phrase actually originated from my original blog post about the film's announcement. I actually had intended to type "feminism-focused" here, as "feminist-focused" would mean the movie was entirely focused around feminists (which it's not). "Feminism-focused" is more representative of what the movie probably will be, as Blondie Girl Studios' previous filmmaking history (from what I've researched) simply includes films which have an underlying plot which revolves around mainly female characters.
I should probably disclose here that part of the reason I am excited for this movie is because I consider myself a feminist. Before some of you start writing me angry comments about what a horrible person I am to dare to ever use that 'f' word in description of myself, I'd like to calmly and peacefully state something. While the next small piece of this article will discuss feminism in relationship to the dislike of the movie, it is simply to provide context to my argument and not to offend anyone. I have no intention of converting you into "fabulous feminists" like myself, and could really care less if you agree with me or not. I also have no intention of even being remotely preachy or convincing in this brief contextual discussion of feminism in relation to the film, and am only mentioning it as it directly relates to many people's objections to this film.
One of the most common and resonating arguments is that "Daphne & Velma" is written by angry feminists who intend to "teach us a lesson." I've also heard comments claiming the film will be "man-shaming" and that the film will "lecture us" on how to be "good little feminists". While, as I mentioned, most of this article reflects my opinions only, if you take one fact away from this article, let it be this: all of these arguments are simply presumptions. No matter what your opinion on the film, none of these things have actually been confirmed at this point.
This is not to say that inferences are always incorrect, and you can make many educated inferences that are most likely true. For example, the "S.C.O.O.B." movie was probably retitled and moved to 2020 because of a script rewrite or casting change. There are some inferences, however, that can be dangerous ones to make. Unfortunately, many people assume that all feminists actively protest for women's rights, shame men for their "lack of empathy" for women and their rights, and even that feminists seek to take out their personal hatred of males on poor, defenseless men. For sake of argument, here is the definition of feminism, according to the official Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Feminism (n.): The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Many people, unfortunately, confuse feminism for a much more radical form of feminism or even misandry (the hatred or despise of males). Interestingly enough, even radical feminism only has a very small portion of believers who joyfully shame or dislike men. To fulfill my promise to keep this discussion at a minimum, I'll stop here, but if you are interested in further researching the differences between regular feminism and radical feminism, this article from The Guardian does a very nice job doing so and explaining why the two are often confused.
To bring this discussion back to the movie, though it is certainly possible that feminism will be heavily focused on, we can and should not simply presume it will be. Let's also not forget that the only confirmation we've received here is that the film will present the main two female characters, Daphne and Velma, in a more "empowered" light. Hopefully, even if you disagree with what I said above (and that's perfectly okay!), you can at least agree that it is okay if men and women are treated equal in society (hopefully no one here wants to go back to the days before women had the rights to do basically anything). I could spend all day listing all the empowered male characters from films, so, if you agree with my above equality statement, you can probably agree that it should be okay to have empowered women characters in films as well.
This article, admittedly, has dealt with some heavy and politically-charged topics. One realization which may shock you (and I hope, makes at least one person give the film a chance who wasn't going to before) is this is all that's been confirmed so far. Simply that Daphne and Velma will be more three-dimensional, empowered characters. No scary and bloodthirsty ax-wielding feminists out to shame you for life about how oppressed women are. For the sake of argument as well, I'll post the description of the film here. If you'd like a refresher, try to read this summary again, pretending that the information that the movie is 'feminism-focused' hasn't been announced.
Before their eventual team-up with Scooby and the gang, bright and optimistic Daphne and whip-smart and analytical Velma are both mystery-solving teens who are best friends but have only met online — until now. Daphne has just transferred to Velma’s school, Ridge Valley High, a tech-savvy institute with all the latest gadgets provided by the school’s benefactor, tech billionaire Tobias Bloom. And while competition is fierce among the students for a coveted internship at Bloom Innovative, Daphne and Velma dig beyond all the gadgets and tech to investigate what is causing some of the brightest students in school to disappear — only to emerge again in a zombie-fied state.
In reality, on its surface, how bad does that description sound? Probably not too horrible, most likely. Unfortunately, many of you probably already know how much the media likes to hype certain things up. The whole "everyone's going to be feminist and queer and preaching for a female-dominated world" is simply hyped up by certain articles like this, this, and especially this one, which in fact has a misleading clickbait page title (look at the article name in the top of the page tab) that it's been confirmed that Daphne and Velma are lesbians in the film (which is entirely false). Feminism has nothing to do with forcing everyone to be queer and lesbians, in fact, in my opinion it would be quite hypocritical to do so and these articles miss the point. My personal feminism beliefs are that everyone should simply be themselves and embrace their own unique identities. Forcing everyone to be gay makes no sense, and would be demeaning to those who don't have interest in the same sex.
This entire article is not arguing that you should like the movie when it comes out. I'm simply suggesting that the movie deserves at least a chance, especially considering that we currently know nothing of the "empowered" Daphne and Velma, and don't even know if it will focus very heavily on feminism beyond some potential light undertones in the plot.
If you've made it this far, I really appreciate you reading this article and at least giving me a chance to try to explain things from my perspective. I have been increasingly frustrated reading some of the comments about this film on the Internet, particularly that people are judging it so harshly before it has been released, over presumptions that may or may not even be true. I'm fully aware that "haters gonna hate" is pretty representative of the Internet today, and some people will be always be angry and immature in their criticisms of both films and other people. I hope though, that this article resonates with at least one person that read it, and at least some people realize how important it is to give something a chance. Never judge a book by its cover. Maybe the movie will be horrific and in a year we'll all be saying how terrible of an idea it was, but the film also could be amazing and inspiring. We will never truly know until we actually watch it.
I know how wonderful and amazing you all are, so this maybe goes without saying, but I do have one small request. I love chatting with you all, and having interesting, deep discussions about our shared love of Scooby. You are more than welcome to disagree with me, and believe I am wrong in my opinions outlined in this post. You can even feel free to drop me an angry comment about what a horrible and disgusting person I am for being a feminist. However, while I try to make a point to reply to everyone's comments on here, please realize I will not reply to any comments which are direct personal attacks. You don't have to agree with me, but I simply request that you realize that we all have things which we believe in strongly, and this is something I believe in. And, if it helps anyone, my beliefs simply are that women should not be oppressed and should be equal societally to men, which by definition makes me a feminist. No protesting, no hatred, simply the belief that every human has the right to be respected and loved regardless of gender. Maybe this is a given, but I also would like to say that I immensely appreciate how amazing you all are, and that I even am able to make a post about a controversial issue such as this and feel comfortable doing so. The Internet can be a scary, angry place, but I'm thankful every day that you all make this such an awesome, friendly place to talk about Scooby.
If you have any opinions or thoughts on this, please let me know in the comments! :)
~ WildwindVampire ~