Women in Film: Is it all About the Men?

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It doesn’t matter who you are, or what age you are, every one of us can be called a film fan. Entertainment culture is obsessed by the film and celebrity world, full of actors and actresses who all star in our beloved movies. When thinking about gender in the film world, there are plenty of girly films that we like to settle down to surrounded by a shed load of sweets; films that are focused on women that aim to empower them. These can be action films like Charlie’s Angels, romantic comedies such as Bridget Jones Diary, and drama films like Thelma and Louise. But when considering women in film, in terms of relationships with men, are women really empowered in the film world?

When thinking about it, it is difficult to name a number of films were female agenda doesn’t focus around a male character at some point during those films. A website named the Bechdel Test questions women’s role in film by asking you to think of a movie that complies with three rules. The first rule is that the film must include at least two named women. The second; the two said women have to speak to each other at some point during the film, and third rule, is that the two women must talk about something besides a man. I decided to give this a try, and found it so difficult. I just couldn’t think of a film that included women not having at least one conversation about men. Luckily, the website includes a list of films that do comply with the three rules. This came as good news to me as I was increasingly worried. I even resorted to fishing through my DVD collection, but this ended in failure as most of my DVD collection consists of Disney films. If it weren’t for the list, it would have taken a long while to come up with a decent sized list of films that showed women in a more feminist light.

Despite the concern of female characters’ attachment to men in the movies, the same could easily be said about male characters. More male orientated films like The Hangover have storylines that in one way or another surround a female character, despite the main cast of the film being all male. There are few films that only include a male cast, just as there are few films that only include a female cast. So never mind about concerns over the extent of women’s role and feminism in the movies, we know that women do of course play a major part in film, a part that is as equally important as male roles; the role of character depends all on the genre, not the gender. Were it not for women in film, there would never be femme fatales, no romance, and no strong female characters that embody some of our favourite films. 

Jenny Pinder

I'm a 22 year old living in Hull, soon to be living in Leeds. I recently found out I have officially passed my university degree, so now I have a summer of fun to look forward to. At the moment everything in life is falling nicely into place.

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