Once the Harvey Weinstein scandal surfaced last year, a total of 87 women came together and spoke out about his treatment of women. But how has that changed the way women are treated in the industry? Feminism on and around the silver screen is perhaps beginning to be taken more seriously.
It’s notable that women are being given much more dominant and powerful roles within film, steering away from the typical ‘object of desire’ stereotype. Archetypal masculine actors; George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were swapped out for badass, independent females such as Sandra Bullock, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter in the Ocean’s 8 film from earlier this year. Female leads can be hard to find without being depicted as either evil and scheming or sexualised and chased. However, this film is much more empowering than that, showing a diverse group of women, independent and intelligent.
On the other hand, I would suggest that If the industry was serious about attributing independence and strength to women they would allow them to originate roles and present new ideas rather than rebooting previous franchise’s (similar to the Ghostbusters all-female reboot).
Such as the woman directed LGBT+ movie adaptation of the book ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ was released this August, representing expectations of women while simultaneously converting them with an Iranian- American bisexual director. After the #metoo movement, it seems all types of women are having a light shone on them- perhaps to fight such a male-dominated industry. This honest female perspective of LGBT women avoids sexualisation and fetishism.
After the after-credit scene of Infinity War and Captain Marvel (2019) trailer was released, it is clear that Disney are making a point not to over-sexualise their newest female lead, showing her as stoic as Captain America and even more effective than the likes of Tony Stark. However, the backlash was men commenting on the fact that Brie Larson should ‘smile more’, but do the stoic heroes such as Thor and Captain American ‘smile more’? With the retaliation of Photo-shopped smiles on male superheroes (resulting in creepy pictures), it’s proven that a superhero just is not the same without the gravitas which she deserves too, especially as she has been called upon to save The Avengers themselves.
It seems, that after the biggest case of sexual harassment in the industry, an overdue conscious effort to portray the various types of women of real life is being made. The industry is progressing to portray women characters and creators as equals to men, giving them more of a chance than previously had to erase expectations. But a point should be made that this, if over-done, could easily become tokenistic rather than a sincere stance on equality and rights.