My type of movie is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Big Lebowski or American Psycho, easily classified as “guy movies.” It drives me up the wall that my preferred genres: crime dramas, psychological thrillers, heist movies, superhero adventures and stoner comedies have virtually no women characters. The ones they do have are guaranteed to fuck someone else in the movie and are appear to be only in this scene because they are done modeling for lingerie ads for the afternoon.
A lot of the time the main characters could easily be women, but they’re just not. And for a long time the place where women could consistently be found was rom-coms but now the bromance flick is pushing even that door closed. But while lists of great female characters rarely include anything since 1996, there is some room to say women’s roles are better than ever.
In any event, there is systemic problem of minimizing females in movies in favor of a male-centric and male-oriented model of filmmaking. And it’s not just in the slasher flicks, shoot ‘em ups and the dumb frat comedies. It’s even kids movies. Check it out.
So be aware, beloved readers. Just apply the Bechdel test when you’re watching a movie:
- Are there two or more female characters and do they have names?
- Do they talk to each other?
- Do they talk about anything besides men?
After a conversation with some friends, we decided there were a couple additional rules that cut the list down even further. If you don’t count horror movies where the female characters die, mother-daughter relationships and queer movies, the number of films shrinks immensely.
So here are three proposed additional rules, as if the first three weren’t difficult enough:
- Do the females have a parent-child relationship?
- Do one or more of the female characters die before the end of the movie?
- Do two female characters make out/kiss/ have sex at some point?
This further whittling down removes females in their traditional roles as mothers, sex object and victims. Just something to think about. Even if we aren’t in charge of making the movies, we can at least be cognizant of what we’re consuming and how we’re thinking about it.