To suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action

Gender inequality in film - New York Film Academy

In this infographic report, the New York Film Academy looks at women in film. Its focus is on big budget films – how much would you say is reflected in grass roots / independent films? Certainly a high number of castings that come my way have more roles for men and the female roles tend to be defined in relation to men / others (i.e. mother, prostitute, girlfriend), while male roles tend to be about who / what they are in relation to their own lives, work, goals, etc.

Gender Inequality in Film – An Infographic And for further consideration: what about women in tv fiction? Why are there so few ‘daughters of Buffy’ – strong and complex fictional creations, who aren’t simply the sole female lead in a predominantly-male cast? What’s your take?


Comments on: "Gender Inequality on Screen" (2)

  1. It is clear that there is considerable gender inequality. Some genres – action and war films, for example – will tend to have far more male roles by definiition.

    Then there is the question of what happens to female actors as they get older – are there still as many roles for them when they lose the bloom of youth? If not, why not?

    Some TV series have some strong female roles, though. The Newsroom has several, though VEEP has fewer than we might reasonably expect.

    Who said life was fair? (Not me.)


    • Thanks for commenting, Rod, and stimulating my little grey cells!

      There may be some genres that are traditionally more male-dominated for ‘physical’ / historical reasons, though why action should be so nowadays could be debated. Certainly there could be more female-centric action films. Are there no women in war now, and what of the contribution of women during wars, but off the battlefield? Actually, that line has been visited a fair amount – be interesting to apply the Bechdel Test to such films. And what is the equivalent for women, if there are genres truly acceptable as male domains?

      The age question is hotly debated, of course, with Helen Mirren and others sounding out about it recently, and as for the role of appearance in how women are cast – a whole can of worms there in itself (which I shall decline to spill over here)!

      I don’t watch tv very much nowadays (read barely at all, though did watch Buffy and others of its ilk), so I can’t really comment on that, but the issue I keep coming across on screen and in theatre, is a lack of decent scripts for female protagonists / casts. Film students seem to be continuing the disparity, whatever the gender of the student. Not that I say all men should write for men and women for women – far from it – but the old chestnut that people only ‘write what they know’ and that is why male writers have more male characters doesn’t wash when you find women writers following the trend rather than, apparently, ‘writing what they know’.

      Except they are all ‘writing what they know’ – not from actual life and the people / women around them, but from the stories that have been written before and which discriminate. This seems to be ‘what people know’ and it is this that needs to be addressed – the bias that predominates and keeps being copied and repeated.

      As for life being ‘fair’ – a refrain of mine was often ‘it’s not fair!’ 😉 – I prefer to think of the chances of it being ‘just’: that’s something we can all work towards, however hard a goal it seems.


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