We need more positive and powerful female role models.
We need them speaking on world stages everywhere. We need them in politics.
And we need them in the media: online, in books, on TV and radio, and in the movies. ESPECIALLY in the movies.
Sadly, the entertainment industry falls incredibly short with respect to gender equality, as I was recently reminded when I stumbled upon an eye-opening piece of cultural research from Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. (YouTube channel / website).
Sarkeesian uses The Bechdel Test (created by Allison Bechdel in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985; see: www.dykestowatchoutfor.com, to show just how poorly movies measure up on the gender balance issue.
The test is a simple, albeit unscientific way to:
- gauge the active presence of female characters in Hollywood films
- assess how well rounded and complete the female roles are
Three Questions Tell The Tale
The Bechdel Test asks three questions:
- Are there two or more women in it who have names?
- Do they talk to each other?
- Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?
According to Sarkeesian, blogger, feminist, geek chick and the force behind Feminist Frequency, an astonishing number of popular movies don’t pass The Bechdel Test.
Sarkeesian says the big screen fail:
“demonstrates how little women’s complex and interesting lives are underrepresented or non existent in the film industry. We have jobs, creative projects, friendships and struggles among many other things that are actually interesting in our lives… so Hollywood, start writing about it!”
Yeah Hollywood. Get on it.