Women on Screen

By Sara Perry

Recent films such as Wonder Woman proved that strong female roles and female directors can not only turn a profit but are what the audience craves. This theme of powerful female leads had seemingly swept screens small and big allowing women to move into previously male-dominated roles such as The Doctor and introduced characters such as Captain Marvel and Valkery. However, a closer look could prove this a shallow dive into female representation.

Studies of women from “Times of Now” demonstrate that during  2016-2017 programs saw an increased progress in the female representation of any other, with shows on broadcast networks, cable and streaming showing women in 42 percent of the speaking roles. The 2017-2018 programs have already seen a 2 percent drop. In 2016, 34 percent of speaking roles were female. They dropped to 24 percent in 2017. The small taste of female progress has evidently only been stunted by the glitches of hope that producers want to give us, like that of the quintessential piece of candy at the end of the grocery store haul where the toddler produces its final meltdown. 

Regardless of the few movies that saw a female protagonist (Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Beauty And The Beast to name a couple), the figures for other female characters are alarming. According to reports by “Digital Spy”, only 32 percent of films have 10 or more females with speaking roles, when over 79 percent have the same number of speaking male roles. Do women, in fact, have less to say than men? 

When considering that 96 percent of film directors are male, and of that, only 20 percent direct movies with leading women. These numbers don’t seem so unreasonable. How can there be an expectation of equality when the narrative is literally written and directed by the very people who are blind to inequality?

In a study by “Women in the Workplace”, on gender diversity in the workplace, 50 percent of men think that a fair amount of representation is 1 to 10 in senior management. Even sadder, a third of all women would agree that the standard for what is fair when it comes to visibility has become any visibility.

It is not time now to revel in sweet delights and bask at our progress. These celebrations are merely distractions from the life-changing work that is at hand.

In a country where women make up around 60 percent of the population, why are we satisfied by one or two movies and a tenth in managerial representation?

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