With theaters â particularly larger theaters â chock full of men’s stories, where did the women go?
An interesting piece on NPR about this writer noting that the vast majority of movies out right now are about men or ensembles of men with women in a supporting role.
I also thought this was of note:
They put up Bridesmaids, we went. They put up Pitch Perfect, we went. They put up The Devil Wears Prada, which was in two-thousand-meryl-streeping-oh-six, and we went (and by “we,” I do not just mean women; I mean we, the humans), and all of it has led right here, right to this place. Right to the land of zippedy-doo-dah. You can apparently make an endless collection of high-priced action flops and everybody says “win some, lose some” and nobody decides that They Are Poison, but it feels like every “surprise success” about women is an anomaly and every failure is an abject lesson about how we really ought to just leave it all to The Rock.
Part of the problem with the “they’re just doing what sells” argument is the assumption that comics/movie/gaming industries are all made of purely objective beings of energy and thought rather than human beings who come with their own biases, and who can also tend to prefer the safe status quo that are affected by those biases. (As can audiences be. I don’t think that audiences are immune to societal biases either, but neither are executives.)
When a Catwoman or Elektra flops, it’s chalked up to people not wanting to watch movies with women in them, but if a Jonah Hex or Green Lantern do poorly, that’s not assumed to be the fault of those movies having male leads. As the piece says for men, a movie failing can be seen as the cost of doing business, rather than an indictment of the movie having a lead of a certain gender. (In a similar way, the number of women who go to superhero movies are often dismissed as being just girlfriends of the “core” male audience, and so we don’t count.)
If the “common knowledge” in Hollywood is that movies with women don’t sell, it can lead to confirmation bias, where ones that do are flukes (or not about having a female lead), and ones that don’t are proof that people don’t want to see women in lead roles (and not about the promotion of the movie, or the writing, or the acting, or etc).
Anyway, I wanted to share this because I thought some people might find it of interest. :)
Edit: The creator of Dresdan Codak shares his experience of being told “women don’t sell” and the suggestion he change his lead.