It’s International Woman Day! (well not anymore but i had no time to write it y’day so this will have to do) Make a wish! (that’s probably not how it works but that’s how i’m gonna play it). I have about a million wishes when it comes to the position of women in the entire world. But they are not quick fixes. Even the genie in the bottle would just force himself back in the bottle if I made my three wishes.
So let’s talk about something that is a quick fix.
Click this link & see for yourself how bad the discrepancy is in the male to female dialogue in movies ratio. 2,000 screenplays have been analyzed by sex & age. in 307 of those films, men spoke for 90% of the movie. God. Imagine that. Where the fuck does the notion come from that women talk too much. Because in comparison, only 9(!) movies were female-centric in the way that women were responsible for >90% of the dialogue.
But now the shocking number comes. in 1206 of those films, the m/f ratio was about 60-90% male to 40-10% female. That is a pretty large scale though. I wish there had been more refinements. There’s a difference between 90% dialogue & 60% dialogue. But that’s still a shocking number.
only 314 films enjoyed gender parity. the male to female ratio is literally 50/50 in this world. Why is it so that that doesn’t reflect in the movies we watch? Why is it said to be a privilege if a film is shot by a woman or features only women. Why do men scream: ‘FUCKING WHINY FEMINISTS’ when a movie like Wonder Woman hits the screens. I’m sure Chris Pine had more dialogue than the Wonder Woman herself anyway. The funny thing about this anecdote is, though, that men get mad when a woman features on a poster of a movie yet can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that we want more representation. it bothers them SO much that a DC movie won’t have a white male lead (although it does..)
Some men find it hard to relate to female characters in movies. But somehow they can relate to Clark Kent. Dream on. 😉
Put women in movies. Gay women, women of color, straight women, white women, disabled women, thick women. Work with female directors. Because representation is everything. People who say it doesn’t matter who portrays who in a movie, because all that matters is the story and the quality of the movie are incorrect. There’s nothing more beautiful than a movie with great cinematography, witty dialogues, flawless acting & a captivating storyline. But I’d trade part of that for self-identification.
Though I think that ultimately there are two people who watch movies: the one that watches it for identification and the one that sees it as a work of art. I wish I could take that distance.
I love The Godfather. It’s an amazing movie. It deserves the acclaim it gets. But I can’t find me. I’m lost searching for a me in a world where I don’t exist. And ‘representation’ isn’t 1:1. I’m not searching for a blonde woman with blue eyes with my name and my ambitions but in a world where we are trapped in gender roles it’s hard to imagine myself as the patriarch in a mob dynasty.
(though I thank Scarlett Johansson for playing the pretty version of me in Lost In Translation 😉 )
Some people love art because it’s a form of alienation from the world. Art brings the beauty that real life can’t bring. Most people live for art through identification. And we should cater to those people. Everyone’s story needs to be told. Because if stories are told in movies, in shows, in books, then we’ll understand the story of our neighbor, of our colleague. We might even understand our own.
With billions of women in this world, you’d think we have quite the stories that make for interesting movies. It means we’re more than prostitutes (French directors like to use that as a ‘metaphor’ but it also means just what it means..), housewives, secretaries, bimbos, love interests, Manic Pixie Dream Girls or token characters.
We imitate what we see on the screen. I’ve written a paper on feminist film in theory in post-war Britain and I came across research that suggested seeing the glamorous women on screen was sometimes the only way they could deal with the poverty, the misery, the deaths, all the aftermath that follows a destructive World War. They saw something of themselves in those women on screen. A part of them that was lost was regained on the screen through beautiful actresses like Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe & Bette Davis. Reading all that did something to me. I realized more than ever that art saves. So we need to save art. Save it from harmful stereotypes where not needed. We need to bring the power abusers in Hollywood to their knees. Because before wanting to see more movies in movies, I want to see that their work place is one of safety. So to that I say: Fuck Hollywood. Let’s go independent. Reese Witherspoon is literally my hero. She changed the game with her company, Hello Sunshine, created to celebrate women & their stories. Now that the initial shock of the the pedophile-rapist-cesspool-culture inside Hollywood exposure that led to #MeToo has taken a backseat, we can focus on fixing the problem.
but I also realize that everyone will always be circling around the solution. Because it means that a lot of men lose their platform. As if it’s a bad thing to revise your favorite movies in light of reveals that have been made about the people behind/in them. Hell, I was a Woody Allen fangirl before I knew about Dylan. So what am I gonna do? Haven’t seen a movie ever since. If everyone follows that mindset, maybe we can cleanse our collective consciousness when it comes to film discussion. Maybe these movies can’t be good. The ‘separate-art-from-the-artist’ is a bullshit argument. That doesn’t hold up when the artist is a rapist. You can tell yourself all you want, you’d still be supporting a rapist. I’d rather lose a few movies I used to love than lose myself in bigotry.
As long as we normalize discussing movies such as Repulsion in film discourse and mentioning Polanski among the greatest, we are saying that literally anything is excusable as long as you make good art. The problem is that there’s the film world is a man’s world. In every way. Film critics are generally men too. And they’ll brush over issues like there’s nothing to it. It’s as ridiculous as men who excuse the rape in GoT on account of ‘historical accuracy’. It’s not a documentary. Rape still happens. Historical accuracy is no argument as movies made today with prominent rape without addressing the issue in a satisfying manner would be burnt by the media. but GoT is seen as the highest art form that is exempt from critical discussion around rape & other issues like the lack of body hair on females (wanna talk about historical accuracy again?). I love GoT. but I have an issue with some of its implications.
And I’m still salty how much of a sausage fest the Academy is. They let Greta walk away without an award. And the sad thing is, that if she won an Oscar for ‘Best Director’ or ‘Best Picture’, people would be furious. Literally anything involving women & positivity is deemed ‘PC-culture’ by a few loud mouths.
Let yourself be inspired by women. Watch female-directed movies. Watch female-lead movies. Crawl under their skin & understand their stories. It’s not much, but it makes a difference. If movies are problematic, acknowledge this. Don’t make excuses. Don’t use vapid philosophical excuses for continuous support of men that exploit women or movies that portray women as something they are not.