Now that more people are reading this, we’re getting comments about how Pink Kitty, is both an engineer and a girl. They’re mostly well-intentioned, like “it’s so wonderful to see a girl character who’s so strong in science.” As though we did it on purpose.
But we didn’t, and PK is not a girl, she is a cat! Also, PK comes from my son. He got a pink kitty stuffed animal and deemed her a girl and an inventor, with a scientist’s personality to match. The story came from 4 years of organic storytelling with Pink Kitty and friends.
We didn’t set out to write a “Goldie Blox” kind of story — that would imply that we created PK “for the market,” as they say. We didn’t! This isn’t a toy franchise, a la My Little Pony. This is for our own entertainment, and the amusement of our friends. The characters just are who they are, along with the rest of the cast from crabby old pirate to adventurous eater.
On a related note, as a statistics-based market analyst (just say “math nerd”), I notice patterns. It’s my job, whether it’s math-based or not. And one of the patterns I’ve seen is how articles about mainstream movies and books complain about how there are no female heroes, minority heroes, etc.
What is important to remember is that it’s the mainstream news media talking about mainstream Western entertainment. Mainstream entertainment is the slowest to adapt — why mess with what brings in the money? It’s comfortable… people expect it… it’s familiar. Breaking expectations = less money, in general.
Indies have far less concern about that! Even non-indies who aren’t quite big enough to be considered mainstream aren’t nearly as concerned. They have far more freedom about what they produce because it doesn’t have to quite so market-conscious.
On cable, much more of the human spectrum is represented as a matter of course. You get many more main characters who happen to be non-white and non-male, villains who are also female, and in general a lot more human characters.
And sure, a lot of entertainment books are written for the market, but a lot of them aren’t. You can find alternatives to sparkly bland Twilight if you want to. Yes, I’m aware of the “Bechdel test” and while there aren’t many mainstream works that pass, there are a lot of non-mainstream works that pass effortlessly, not because they want to make a point of it, but because they are the kind of stories the writers want to tell. You can even find fantasy that is not based on Tolkien!
So don’t believe everything you see/read on mainstream news sites. Moving beneath the static, brittle ice of popular entertainment is a huge stream of variety. And you don’t have to do much to crack it! It’s like finding anything new and cool — just look beyond prime time slots, best sellers, top-tens, popular channels, etc.