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One- Dimensional Women in a Two-Dimensional World

Films today aren’t representing real women

April 8, 2014
By:Julie Ratcliffe
braveMovies and television today feature top notch special effects, the best actors in the business and fresh new story lines but they often fall they short in the character department. Most female characters are put into stereotypes that do not reflect the multi-faceted personalities of real women. These stereotypes include “the broken women” like in any Nicholas Sparks movie, “the desperate and boy crazy woman” in Twilight, “the fighter” like Black Widow in The Avengers and “the eye candy” like Megan Fox’s character in The Transformers franchise.

According to Stephanie Eurdice from The Women’s Center at Shippensburg University, real female characters are well written “when you’re showing their emotions, struggles, achievements and challenges all in one character” but their emotions and challenges are often used against them when men’s achievements and struggles are seen as triumphs. Eurdice says the perfect example of this is how the working woman is portrayed vs the working man, “how many times do you see a movie take place in an office situation and a man has come out of meeting and cried? Never, but you often see that with women.”
Part of the problem starts behind the scenes. Female television and film viewers can’t expect to see themselves reflected in the media if there are no women in the writer’s room, behind the camera or producing accurate content. Women Make Movies: Film Facts found in the year 2012, “women comprised only 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films”. Movies like Disney’s Frozen and Pixar’s Brave, more women were involved in the writing and directing and produced films where women and female relationships were the central focus.

Movies and television continue to feature male-centric shows because executives are still making money. Professor of Communication/Journalism at Shippensburg University, Dr. Ted Carlin says change is a two-part process. He says why change what’s making money, things will never be different until viewers begin demanding change and producers of the content step up and make the change.

Things won’t change until women create and demand strong, well-written characters and then great women in film and television won’t be a rare find.

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