Last Friday, NPR writer Linda Holmes duly infuriated the masses by actually going out and counting the movies about women and the movies directed by women that were playing in her neighborhood. Linda lives in a Washington DC, a city, with lots of movie choices and still the reality was stark.
561 or 90% were stories about men.
31 are pairings/couples or ensembles of men and women
25 are showings of movies about women or girls
1 was directed by a woman
Keep in mind these are not the numbers of movies, these are the amount of screenings you could go to on that given day.
She also points out that “there are nearly six times as many showings of Man Of Steel alone as there are of all the films about women put together.”
I finally got to see The East. Walking out my friend and I were commenting about how refreshing it was to see a smart and interesting film where the main protagonist was a woman. And there was also other several great parts for women. This was shocking to us BECAUSE WE NEVER SEE THAT. These movies don’t exist and that is beyond upsetting. Here was an ambitious female character who thought she knew exactly what she was doing with her life and it turned out that she really wasn’t sure of anything. It is no surprise that the film was co-written by a woman — Brit Marling — who plays the main lead. She’s consistently writing parts for herself as other women are doing now too.
But Linda’s experiment has stayed with me all week and I would love take it to the next level. We should all count. I think we should all look at what is playing in our neighborhoods this weekend and see how many women there are. Pick a day and count. Having these numbers is empowering as well as depressing. It makes us realize we are not alone in thinking that women are missing, cause guess what, they are.
As Linda said:
I want to stress this again: In many, many parts of the country right now, if you want to go to see a movie in the theater and see a current movie about a woman – any story about any woman that isn’t a documentary or a cartoon – you can’t. You cannot. There are not any. You cannot take yourself to one, take your friend to one, take your daughter to one.
There are not any.
It is time we all noticed and called this what it is: a cultural crisis.