Females in Family Films

Posted on 31 January 2015

Geena Davis makes some excellent points in her article Geena Davis’ Two Easy Steps to Make Hollywood Less Sexist. I would make one more point: you are more likely to have fair representation of people in media when those who are doing the storytelling come from a broad range of genders, ethnicities, ableisms, etc. I attended a lecture held by Women in Film and Television (WIFT) which provided evidence that though more women are currently in roles of authority such as producer, fewer are in roles such as writer or director. This makes a big difference in what stories are told and how.

Whose stories are told, whose biographies are published, who is represented in history books: these are all important to how we as a culture see ourselves and one another. These reflections upon ourselves, no matter how distorted, inform our decisions and create the future. Take action and tell a story no one has heard before, one with a currently unexpected shape. So long as you are in the box, it’s hard to see that anything else exists outside, but it does. That’s where the blue skies and sunshine exist.

It wasn’t the lack of female lead characters that first struck me about family films. We all know that’s been the case for ages, and we love when movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen hit it big. It was the dearth of female characters in the worlds of the stories — the fact that the fictitious villages and jungles and kingdoms and interplanetary civilizations were nearly bereft of female population — that hit me over the head. This being the case, we are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space. Couldn’t it be that the percentage of women in leadership positions in many areas of society — Congress, law partners, Fortune 500 board members, military officers, tenured professors and many more — stall out at around 17 percent because that’s the ratio we’ve come to see as the norm?
~Geena Davis, “Geena Davis’ Two Easy Steps to Make Hollywood Less Sexist“, The Hollywood Reporter

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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