17 May 2016

Why Girls Deserve More Movies

If you are a frequent reader of my blog then you will probably know by now that I am a student at Brighton Film School. You might also know that my goal in life is to be a screenwriter and director. It sounds like a pretty cool idea (I think so anyway) so imagine how I felt when I found out the chances of achieving my dreams are severely slashed because I don't have certain body parts. And yes if you're wondering, this is 2016 not 1956.

The Numbers

When you think of a director, what do you think of? Chances are you picture a man with a cap and a megaphone. No worries, that's most likely what we all picture, probably because in 2015 91% of films were directed by men. And it's not just directors either, the film industry really is one big boys club with women only making up 11% of writers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors and 6% of cinematographers, 6! Now, that's more maths than I ever expected to be on my blog, but these numbers are just shocking! As for people actually IN the movies, only 12% of films in 2014 had female leads.

Now if you have no interest in being in the film industry then right now you are probably wondering how this effects you. Well, if you're a girl then it means you are being extremely under represented. Film is a highly influential medium and really does effect the way we see the world and how we approach life in general. It means that a very small amount of the films we watch actually feature an independent girl with her own story who isn't just a girlfriend, mother or sister to the main character, the man, or features a female character that actually speaks at all!  It means that even if the film does feature a female lead, 91% of films are still directed by men, so many of those female characters are still being shown from the perspective of a man.

Now please don't think that I am saying men don't deserve to be part of movies, because they most definitely do, but women deserve it just as much and we need a much better balance.

The Reasons

The question you're probably asking yourself now is "why?" Why is the film industry such a man's world? Maybe there just aren't enough women who want to be in the industry? WRONG. There are plenty of women who are in or are entering the film industry, one day at my film school could show you that. Ok, well maybe they're just not good enough to get these jobs then? Again, WRONG! But such a common belief held between many men in the industry and something I've already experienced myself. I have been patronised by guys I know who are at the same level as me but for some reason just assume I don't know the same thing as if I haven't been sitting in the same class or anything. For example, being told how to format a script literally days after I attended a script writing workshop in London as a prize for my own work being long-listed in a national competition. Something I actually heard for real the other day was that "if you cast a girl in your film you're just pandering to the feminist agenda" Yes because feminism is just awful and obviously the only reason we want more women in film is so we can complete our agenda of taking over the world. Sure. For more, and actually much more shocking examples of this you can visit "Shit People Say To Women Directors". So why aren't women given these opportunities? Maybe because we still live in a patriarchy society and the men at the top don't want to share their power. Or maybe they're worried we'd do a better job than them. For example, highly successful films such as Kingsman, Bridesmaids and ET were written by women, as were Gone Girl and Room, all of these films nominated for or even won prestigious awards such as Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAS. As for female leads, The Hunger Games, Maleficent, SPY and Divergent show that women can be just as bad ass on screen AND as successful at the box office as men can. Whatever the reasons for the imbalance in the film industry, it NEEDS to change.

There Is Hope!

I believe that this world is becoming more and more accepting every day and eventually we will get there. Things are looking up, for example Oscar winning actress Alicia Vikkander is opening her own production company, with their debut film featuring two female leads and a mainly female crew. In Sweden they hit their 50:50 gender target (meaning equal funding for male and female directors) and now they are aiming for the same thing in Britain. There is still a long way to go, but with films by and about women being extremely successful and women making up 50% of cinema ticket sales, I think we deserve more movies. 

Thank you for reading, I would love to know your opinions on this subject so please leave me a comment below.

See you soon, 

Beth x


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