How does starring in several iconic feminist movies shape a lady’s perspective? Everyone’s favorite actress-turned-activist, Geena Davis, recently published a seriously badass column about the lack of female representation in mainstream media– and leave it to one half of Thelma & Louise to lay down the law.
In her guest piece for the Hollywood Reporter, Davis discusses the fact that, for every speaking female character in a movie, there are roughly four dude characters. She also points out something I’d never heard before– that when there’s a crowd of people in a movie, women typically make up only 17 percent of them. WTF.
Luckily, Davis has a firm grasp on how to come off as lovable even when she’s pissed, and she quite charmingly proposes a solution to these problems:
Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?
Seriously, what if? I mean, we also need to have more women writing the roles for women, and we need to have more complex lady characters who aren’t just totally masculine roles with feminine names, but yeah, we need to start somewhere.
Davis goes on to argue that while we can’t magically insert more women into Congress or wave a wand and have more female CEOs, individuals do have the ability to increase female representation in film. Basically, screenwriters and directors have a responsibility to stop being losers and start putting women into their movies. Davis adds,
When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.
Heck yes. I’m so happy to see people passing this column around on Facebook and Twitter, because the first step to changing the culture is making people aware that there’s a problem to begin with. Thanks for your help, Geena– you’re in a league of your own. (ba-dum CHI)
Via Hollywood Reporter / Photo: WENN