We see women in front of the camera more often than behind it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these women are equal to their male counterparts. The token female present merely to be ogled or the shallow shell of a woman that never has a conversation about anything seemingly substantial are characters we know all too well.
Fortunately there has been more and more content made recently that focuses on the portrayal of interesting female characters with depth and important things to say that can act as role models to girls around the world…
This post is not about them.
Yesterday I read an article about the negative effects of feminism in Hollywood that made me a little bit mad. Partially because of the way the argument was phrased and partially because despite it, I knew they were kinda right. Yet I believe the reasons they were giving for feminism becoming Hollywood’s apparent decline were misguided. Instead of focusing on what I believe to be the actual issue, which I will get into in a moment, they were blaming the audience for wanting diverse content. More than that they were cramming said audience into a umbrella term of, and I quote, “woke mobs” and consistently abused the term throughout the article.
So are “woke mobs” destroying Hollywood or is Hollywood destroying feminism? An audience that is clearly no longer interested in watching what they have previously seen before should not be blamed for the lazy attempts of studio execs trying to diversify content. It is clear that Hollywood has not adjusted to this new demand thus resulting in gender bending female leads in previously “beloved” all male franchises. When I mention Gender Bending here I’m talking about the casting of previously male characters as females. Whilst they will try and pass this off as progress, let’s be honest, it really isn’t.
A few examples that come to mind immediately are the female reboot of Ghostbusters, the all female Ocean’s 8 movie, and the next James Bond being cast as a woman. And you may be saying, ‘but isn’t having more women on screen what we wanted?‘ And yes, seeing more ladies on screen, and in prominent roles is great, but simply turning a male character into a female character does not make that film any more feminist than when it was a male character. Oceans 8 had a star studded cast of some of the greatest actresses in the film industry. But the script was lame, the characters 1 dimensional, and nothing set it apart from any other heist film with an all male cast except for the fact that they were stealing jewellery from the Met Gala instead of robbing a casino. Cause you know…they’re women.
Not even Cate Blanchette could save it. Cate Blanchette!
In the article I read it talks about how the Ghostbusters reboot with 4 female leads didn’t do well because “men” didn’t see it. But I don’t think these reboots are doing well because nobody is seeing them. The “woke mobs” don’t want to see women acting like men or maintaining the sexist stereotypes just with more screen time. We want interesting, original female characters with their own traits and backstories telling stories that are uniquely female in the way that male stories have been told in cinema for years.
Now I’m not saying that women cannot play super spies or heist masterminds all I ask is that the people calling the shots in the big budget land of movies take a bit more time to think about the characters they are writing for screen. And this applies to all genders. The Spy Who Dumped Me directed by Susanna Fogel is a great example of how this can be achieved and I recommend you all seeing it to get an idea of what i’m taking about. Feminism is not about hating men, its about achieving equality for all and if we can get diversity and a hint of originality in our Hollywood films then I think we would see an increase in audience interest.