Why is the film industry a profit center that can do with a bit more profit? Why do a majority of American women’s movies and the majority of women in film are based upon male characters that are usually killed off or are, in a couple of cases, made into a joke?
It seems obvious by now that most men and women who write about film have been forced to become male, and in a culture that prizes their masculine identities and abilities more than any other value, their views of female representation is skewed, often to the benefit of men. The most well-known examples that have become infamous are films like Gone With the Wind, which was a hit when it was made, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit , which is beloved by both men and women, despite having the wrong character cast. But those are just a few examples of the way that gender is used to promote male interests while excluding female interests. There are numerous other examples.
What are the issues that the movie industry needs to address to have a better sense of female representation in film?
If you listen to the opinions of movie reviewers, the biggest complaints about female representation have to do with women being “overacted” or needing more “dramatic” characters, while men are “overlooked” or “lily-white” or “too bland”. These are all fairly generic critiques, but there are reasons why the film industry wants to present female characters like these as though they’re “out there” for all the female moviegoers. This “diversity” has led to the creation of “women’s movie” industries like Gail Simone’s Women Can’t Jump and Wonder Woman and Melissa McCarthy’s The Heat. These female characters, while they are well-acted and interesting, often are not women, and when some of these women are, they are often given just enough screen time to be the stars of a film that was written for women to be taken seriously. And yet women who aren’t women are more likely be shown “overacted” or “mature” in these industries, while those who are—for example, the women who play comic book movie love interests like Wonder Woman or Lois Lane—are not.
Other problems with character portrayal in the female-dominant film industries are also connected to how characters are presented—especially in regards to female action characters, where female characters are more often made into sex objects. But these stereotypes aren’t the worst that film industry culture has to offer. The big issue is that
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