A character’s physical attributes should go beyond just being “athletic and gorgeous, 28.”
You can’t go a day without hearing about media portrayal in some form or another. These include: When Meryl Streep told an all-white film festival jury, “We’re all Africans actually,” she was defending an all-white film festival jury. (Meryl, please don’t say that!)
Even in an era of democratized connectedness, concerns about who gets to make media, who gets to see themselves shown in media, and in what light and the practical ramifications of having that Representation historically kept from you aren’t so simple to dismiss as trivial. In addition to being a great aggregation tool, Twitter is a great way to keep up with the latest news. With a growing amount of facts, it’s difficult to disregard concerns about women being oversexualized or black people being stereotyped. Is the simplest explanation right at some point?
Ross Putman, the film producer behind the @femscriptintros Twitter account, has been popping up in many people’s social media feeds this week because of the terrible female character introductions he finds in screenplays. Putman has altered all of the characters’ names to “Jane” in the entries, which are “groaningly, tellingly alike.”
Behind a hot shower door, “the lovely silhouette of Jane bathing” can be seen.
Entering, Jane, with her long blond hair, is Jane. Behind her strong grin is an enticing and forthright charm that’s easy to look at.”
In front of the mirror, “JANE – his wife, 30s, lovely in lingerie, applying lipstick in front of the mirror, making it a sensual display.”
JANE, 28, is a slender, athletic, and attractive woman.” He is a natural wonder. She looks fantastic in jeans, which she does most days.”
See? Anyone who claims that feminism is no longer relevant is lying. Women can be whatever they want to be these days, whether a sultry, natural-looking woman in jeans or an exotic, gorgeous wife in lingerie! Not to raise your aspirations, but a wet, indistinguishable glob of sexual desire may emerge. It’s the stuff of every young lady’s imagination.
@ProResting is a pseudonym for an anonymous actor who has been tweeting about gender inequality in casting calls. Many jobs, ranging from “dead nude girl at crime scene” to “dead call girl resting naked on the toilet floor,” are available for 25-year-old women. One phone call advises that “several sexually stressful moments” are required for the part.
That’swhatshesaid, a new experimental feminist play by Seattle writer Courtney Meaker, has been making waves in my area this week. It is based exclusively on female dialogue and stage direction from the 11 most popular plays of 2014 and 2015. On the Stranger website: “Erin Pike stands on stage and apologizes for nearly a minute,” wrote Rich Smith. As a disembodied male voice characterizes her in numerous ways, Pike tries to embody each of them in rapid succession…………… In each scene, thematically linked sentences are arranged under the behaviors that society deems to be most undesirable in women. Women are seen in our culture as sexual objects and a seductress. An angelic woman. An enraged witch as a woman. A woman-hating girl apologizes for everything and asks a lot of questions. (The publishing corporations that control Meaker’s source material have served Thatswhatshesaid with repeated cease-and-desist notices.)
In and of itself, each of these instances may seem obnoxious, but when taken together, the others see us. For women of color, disabled women, gay women, trans women, sex workers, and other intersecting and marginalized identities, the breadth of Representation are considerably less.
It is expected of women to apologize for their actions and provide support. We’re supposed to base our sense of self on the judgments of other guys about our physical appearance and sexual value, and most of the time, we do what we’re told. There is no alternative model, no pain is less painful than defiance, and you live in a culture where descriptions of a woman usually do not go beyond her appearance.
She is worth having sex with (“A gorgeous woman, JANE, 23, tipsy, naked big bed, as adorable sexy”) that makes it difficult not to comply. Everywhere you look, you can see its effects.
The number of sex workers killed on Game of Thrones next season and whether or not a Florida lady successfully prosecutes her rapist isn’t directly related, of course. It is, nevertheless, absurd to assert that the media has no measurable impact on our lives. It builds on itself. Our children learn a lot from fictional characters about what it means to be normal and abnormal and about who they can trust and who they shouldn’t. Those whose tales are conveyed by the media define who we empathize with, who we consider alien, and whose presence we are even aware of at Representation is a driving force behind citizens’ self-awareness, self-determination, and active engagement in their communities. It has a direct impact on how we vote, where we live, and who we value.
Improve the quality of your narratives.