In this day and age it’s really frustrating that women are still not treated equally. I’m not just talking generally, but specifically in film.
It wasn’t until recently that it became politically correct to call women actors. Even at awards ceremonies they were considered actresses- strictly a feminine word compared to the masculine actor. Now it is a gender-neutral word describing all people of the acting profession. (Enter applause here)
This was just the beginning. Now I’m here to address the problem of not having enough truly strong female movie characters.
People, myself included, enjoy going to see a movie from time to time (time to time for me is every three days) to escape the real world and not have to worry about everyday issues for a short amount of time. To just feel at ease. As a young man, it’s easier for me to look up to some characters as fictional role models because males dominate the film industry. For all the females out there, it’s not so easy.
There has only been one strong female character to date– Black Widow– and she has not been given her own movie. So, you’re telling me, for the first time we have a strong, independent female superhero who finally isn’t a typical damsel in distress, but she isn’t good enough to get her own film? It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Not until 2017, at the earliest, are we set to see a female-focused superhero movie; Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, followed by Captain Marvel in 2018, which has yet to be cast. (Please be Ronda Rousey).
All I’m saying is it’s about time to give women some characters they can identify with as being powerful or independent, or even both. The female gender needs other women to be able to look up to. Yeah yeah, the obvious choices could be their mother, sister, grandma, etc. They have Hillary Clinton, Wendy Davis or Michelle Obama in politics; Rousey, Serena Williams, or any of the US Women’s National Soccer team in sports; in TV there’s Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Amy Schumer. But who is there in film?
The only classic female power roles I can think of where the female lead character is not being told what to do or being saved by a male character is Ellen Ripley from Alien, The Bride from Kill Bill, Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, and Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. FOUR CHARACTERS! That is absolutely ridiculous. Yes this list is very arguable, but I can spend hours arguing against how all other women portrayed in film have some type of patriarchal storyline working against them.
Give it some time and Hermione could make the cut, Furiosa will be there from Mad Max: Fury Road or even Elsa/Anna in Frozen or Merida in Brave. But, the fact that I have to actually bring attention to these amazing bad-ass female heroes says a lot about the industry. And don’t get me started on how majority if not all of these movies have been written and directed by men.
I could name at least a dozen strong male characters that are iconic almost instantly. I should be able to do the same with women, and that’s my hope for the future.
Did you know only one– yes ONE– woman has ever won Best Director at the Oscars? Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010. It took 82 years for this to happen. She was the fourth woman to be nominated in that category and no woman has been nominated since.
For screenwriting over the last 10 years: there have been 160 credited nominees for 100 films nominated- of those only 18 were women. Two of those won Oscars. Diablo Cody for Juno in 2007, and Diana Osana for Brokeback Mountain in 2005, and she shared the award with a man.
I spend most of my free time dedicated to Oscar predictions and analysis. In this free time I have noticed patterns to how people receive nominations and which ones go on to win. The most common for women: nudity and “going ugly.” Chances are if you do both you have a better shot, a la Charlize Theron in Monster.
Why does this matter? Because the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences is made up of 77 percent men.
It’s time for women to be portrayed as characters rather than objects. Don’t show nudity because it will bring in a male-dominated audience. Nudity in film should exist solely to advance the plot or, if you do show a woman naked, equal that up by showing a naked male. This is something for which Game of Thrones has been getting a lot of criticism.
This year’s Mad Max film was the most feminist movie I have ever seen and it was written and directed by George Miller, a man, and co-written by two other men. Yet it passed the Bechdel Test a dozen times over and contained one of the best female characters ever mentioned above, played by Theron. The Bechdel Test means it has to contain these three criteria: 1. It has to have at least two women in it, who 2. Talk to each other, about 3. Something other than a man.
Now think of your favorite movie. Does it pass this test? This test only exists because there have been way too many movies where there were only one or fewer female characters.
I would like to see another movie similar to Mean Girls where female characters dominate and there’s an occasional male. Or another powerhouse film like Trainwreck that takes every rom-com and spins it into the woman’s point of view. Give me an action movie / popcorn flick where a female is the lead going around saving people’s lives. Tell me that any action movie starring a male as a lead could not have been a female and I’ll call you a liar.
There’s really no excuse for this behavior anymore.
There’s so much more to say on this matter, but I leave that to you. Please comment any thoughts you may have on this matter or feel free to tweet them to me @DillonReedRose.
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