Here at Breaking the Glass Slipper, we love the 1987 film The Princess Bride. I mean, who doesn’t? It is endlessly quotable, tongue-in-cheek, and full of great characters. Unfortunately, only a couple of those characters are female and the way they’re represented…well, let’s just say our inner feminists are wincing.
Is it ok to still love this film while recognising some of its more problematic elements? We think so. This episode is equal parts fan gushing and critical reflection… ok, so mostly gushing, but we found plenty to unpick too, including some stuff none of us had considered before.
While some people have argued that Buttercup is a feminist underneath it all (Bustle calls her a ‘secret feminist’), we aren’t so sure. Too often she relies on others to save her, teetering into the damsel in distress trope the film attempts to satirise. But feminist credentials don’t have to fall on the shoulders of women. Perhaps it is Westley who is the torch-bearer for feminism instead. Or maybe the film’s merit lies in its representation of male friendships? There are definitely arguments for the film’s feminist credentials (and we definitely aren’t clutching at straws)!
Ultimately, the poor female representation in this 80s classic isn’t enough to make us love it any less.
*Note: Short audio clips from the soundtrack are used in this episode for commentary purposes and are in accordance with fair use principles. Copyright: Warner Bros. Records.