Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Role (and Roles) of Women in Film

posted by Nell Minow

Monika Bartyzel has an excellent and insightful essay on Movies.com called Girls on Film: Why Supporting Female Characters Matter.

Funny men like Seth Rogen and Jason Segal act as the everyman with a witty sarcastic edge, and since men dominate cinematic comedy, this relatability is front-and-center. But these are male-dominated characteristics that have no realistic female balance or counterpoint. They can offer relatable aspects, but not a comedic mirror for the female audience – women relating women. Since men almost universally take the lead in any comedic film that doesn’t start with “rom,” women must turn to the supporting roles – roles which are not only secondary characterizations, but also clichéd whirlwinds that have little resemblance to reality.

She used twitter to invite comments and heard back from women who were also concerned about the portrayal of female characters:

Most complaints centered on one of the most prevalent characterizations – the shrew – the woman who acts as the anti-fun counterpoint to the fun-loving man, who, as smart as she may be, cannot lighten up, who has no sense of humor and takes the fun away, and sometimes needs the man to teach her to lighten up and live. Other irksome qualities included women with a lack of friends, women as either asexual or ridiculously sexual, clingy partners, unreasonable man-haters, catfighters, superficial characters, bossy beasts, hormonal time bombs, and lest we forget – jealous, green-eyed monsters who will not allow men to interact with any woman who is not a blood relative.




  • Pingback: The Role (and Roles) of Women in Film | Christian Media Cross

  • http://CoupleofmoviesIwatchedwithmydaughters Dwight Davison

    Stereotypes in the movies is out of control, that is why I like independent movies. But there are a couple of movies that I watched with my high school and grade school daughters that I thought showed that females don’t need rescuing. First one is a cartoon MULAN. From what I understand the story of MULAN “the woman who saved China” is taught in school in China. That impresses me when a culture can celebrate a hero that is a woman. The next movie that I thought broke down the stereotype of woman not being strong was WHALE RIDER. Here is a young girl who breaks down all the patriarchal rules that this New Zealand Tribe has set in place. These two movies are great for young women to watch and realize that they don’t need to follow the movies formula to what women should be.

    -Dwight

    • Nell Minow

      Two of my favorites, Dwight! Every family should watch them both. And next year’s Pixar movie is their first with a female lead. It’s called “Brave” and I am really looking forward to it. Thanks so much.

Previous Posts

Trailer: The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith
Writer Alan Bennett ("The Madness of King George") was not sure about the right way to respond when a near-homeless woman in a fragile mental state moved her dilapidated van in front of his house. He did not want her there but he could not bring himself to send her away. What began as a three week

posted 8:00:47am Mar. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Unfinished Business
"Unfinished Business" is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the mo

posted 5:59:57pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Chappie
So, basically, no one here saw "Terminator." Or "Frankenstein." But maybe they did see "Robocop?" Or "Short Circuit?" Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conf

posted 5:59:11pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
A documentary called "Young at Heart" had a choir of singers in their 80's performing contemporary rock songs.  The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words.  And in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a plot that ranges from silly to very silly

posted 5:55:14pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Merchants of Doubt
Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer?  That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General's report showing the adverse health effects of cig

posted 5:30:43pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.