Gender in Films

by Daina Hosty, Emma Marugliano & Kate Nolan

Some quick Stats!

  • 33% of lines in film scripts are given to women, which means 67% of lines are given to men. Do you think this is fair? 

  • Between the years of 2005-2009 the percentage of lines in film scripts given to women are identical. This shows that as the years go on, gender equality simply is not balancing or improving in film.

  • Less than 17% of films are gender balanced.

The Bechdel test!

We discovered a test called the Bechdel test, which we found rather interesting. It was founded by Alison Bechdel in the 1980’s.The films will only pass if they have:  At least two female characters who talk to each other at one point about something other than a man.

Here are some of the movies which unfortunately do not pass the Bechdel test:  (some may surprise you!)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  •  The Lord of the Rings (all three)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (1, 2 and 4),
  • Marley & Me
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • When Harry met Sally
However, what we found most interesting is that if the test was reversed (male characters who talk about something other than a woman), all of those movies would pass!

The Bechdel test alone does not prove that a movie is sexist but it makes it clear that in general, women in movies tend to be defined by their relationships with men, whereas men can be defined by a variety of things (their work, their weapons, their strength)
It is a proven fact that in film schools, writers are discouraged in writing scenes where women talk about other topics (other than men) as apparently it is a quick way for audiences to lose interest in the plot.

Strong Female Charaters

Today we have researched about some strong female characters in films. These female characters go against the stereotypical role of women in films. Here is a list of those strong, independent characters: 

Scout - To Kill a Mockingbird 

                                   Hermione Granger - Harry Potter

                                      Katniss Everdeen_ The Hunger Games

Pocahontas - Pocahontas

                                                     Mulan - Mulan
                                                                                       Maggie Fitzgerald - Million Dollar Baby

Another interesting fact that we found out was:

In most G-rated family films, there is almost a 3:1 ratio of male characters to female characters, giving young female audience members fewer female characters to compare to eg “Meet the Robinsons” as shown below.

As you can see there are 9 main male characters and 4 main female characters making for more than 2:1 male to  female ratio.

Of the limited female characters in a film, animated female characters still tend to show much more skin than male characters, and are more likely to have strong, exaggerated physical features. This objectifies female characters and sets unrealistic standards of female attractiveness that can lead to body image problems in young girls. An exaple of this can also be seen in the photo above as three of the four women have extremely diminished waistlines and only one man has a diminished waistine and hes a robot!! 

Also remember Lola bunny and Jessica rabbit!

It is also a fact that there were no G-rated family films between 2006 and 2009 that showed women with careers in the fields of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or in politics. Additionally, in G-rated family films from 1990-2010, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real-world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce. 

To conclude:

We found a lot of interesting facts about gender equality in films. We found out about the Bechdel test and interedting statistics such asas shown above. We thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and learned an immense amount of detail about gender in films. It has helped us to not only understand the role of women in film, but also the role of men in film and we hope it has helped ye too!

1 comment:

  1. Well done Daina, Kate and Emma. Good research but I would like to know about your personal resonse to what you found out.
    Mrs L :)