Okay, so IFC is making an Anita Blake adaptation. Apparently, they’re only going to make one movie, at least at first. For anyone who’s ever read the books and then googled it and found the million websites dedicated to casting every single character in the series, this is of course exciting news.
But here’s the thing (of course there’s a thing). According to Reuters,
IFC is targeting the movie to its core audience of men 18-34 and plans to air it next year.
Hang on. Please rewind. IFC is targeting MEN?????!!!!!
You have got to be shitting me! I’m not the longest reader of Laurell K. Hamilton‘s books, nor am I the most involved in the fandom. But from my experience like 98% of the fans and readers are women. I mean, I’m sure that there are men reading these books, but really, there are not many of them.
These books (especially the later ones) are like one Mary Sue’s masturbatory fantasies and while I can see that this would be appealing to (hetero) men, too, it’s really more exciting for (hetero) women.
Plus, it’s like it was written for women. Though that can’t be right. I mean, who would do that, write books for stupid women? [Even though romance novels, whose readership is famously female, are probably the only genre in this recession with actually growing sales, thank you very much.] Consequently, the movie can’t be made for women either.
Instead of the IFC saying “oh, great, we can maybe expand our audience, get a completely new group of people watching our movies and shows, which doesn’t mean that we lose the old one, so we take this material with a huge female fanbase and uhm, make the movie for this exact audience”, they say, “ah… screw this, we’ll make a movie for men. There isn’t enough of them around”.
It’s the same problem Erotica Cover Watch points out over and over again: Publishers and producers are so afraid of losing the male audience that they cater completely to their needs. Even if the things they’re marketing are specifically made for women and consumed mostly by women.
The only exception is the romance genre. But as soon as women turned to romance, the whole genre lost credibility (and subsequently also quality). I mean, think great, older literary works – a lot of them have plots that could very well go with Harlequin books. [It’s the same thing with the job as secretary. A hundred fifty years ago, being a secretary was a perfectly honourable and important job done by men. Then women started to become secretaries and suddenly, all secretaries ever do is file their nails, do their hair, chew gum and generally be unhelpful.] Nowadays, if you write a book that has even a remotely romantic plot (in the classic sense), it gets coloured pink and/or some man titty and it’s automatically crap. Which isn’t true. Not all romance novels are bad, formulaic and full of stereotypes. But because of the perceived inferiority of the whole genre, the quality standards these books have to live up to are set rather low.
And here we are, once more: Because the Anita Blake books aren’t pink and feature a strong heroine (we can debate another time whether the Anita Blake is also a feminist heroine), because the books (at least the early ones) focus on the mystery/crime plot and not on the romance, they can not possibly be made for a female audience. And neither can the adaptation. I mean, Anita Blake doesn’t go shopping.