Since it’s International Women’s Day I thought I’d take a look at feminism in film but don’t worry this isn’t a rant so I’ll keep this post light; no politics, no points, no agenda. Well maybe a little gender.
The Bechdel test (named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel) has become famous among feminists for drawing attention to the shocking fact that despite women making up half the population, about half of all films fail the rule first proposed in a 1985 comic strip. To pass the test, a film must feature two female characters having a conversation about something other than a man.
Gravity: This film was a huge success in 2013 but Sandra Bullock was the only actress to feature in the film (not including a minor voice only role) and furthermore they gave her character a man’s name, Ryan. It was almost as if the producers didn’t believe you could have a female astronaut. We need to encourage young girls to get into science but this film with its fake physics and poor female astronaut who nearly gets herself killed isn’t going to accomplish anything.
Bullock may be playing an American hero but she still needs a man to save her, even if that man is dead. Hollywood reckons George Clooney dead could outsmart a living Sandra Bullock. Maybe they saw her in Miss Congeniality? Now that’s a film about female empowerment.
Star Wars: It’s been said before that the greatest trilogy of all time is an absolute sausage fest. There are only three named female characters with speaking roles. No wonder Luke fancied sharing a kiss with sister. After his aunt she’s the only human woman he’s ever seen. With this immense shortage of women, is it any wonder that Anakin becomes obsessed with Padme? Although he could have always replaced her with Keira Knightley.
Disney are trying real hard to correct the error with two
beautiful powerful leading women in the newest additions. However, the force awakens is essentially about trying to find a man and give him back his glowing penis sword. Not cool Disney, not cool.
Harry Potter: Call yourself a feminist Emma Watson? Then how come you were in such an anti-women series of films? Despite being written by “the most powerful woman in the UK” the books are clearly sexist. All magical women are dubbed witches while men get to be called wizards.
And despite having many female teachers and pupils at least one of the films fails the Bechdel test. In Deathly Hallows part 2, the closest two women get to having a conversation with each other is when Mrs Weasley calls Bellatrix Lestrange a bitch and then proceeds to murder said bitch. What a mother…
Toy Story: Sexism starts from a very young age. Shame on you Pixar with your reaffirming gender stereotypes. The first film only has one female toy and it’s a doll. Admittedly that doll belongs to a boy but you’re not going to pass the Bechdel test with so few female characters. Two other dolls appear with no heads.. no heads.. trying to tell us something Pixar?
The second one also fails the test despite having three new female characters but I’ll hold it there cos this is starting to get a tad political. Maybe feminists actually have a point?