15 March 2017

We Don't Need To Be F-Rated

female cinematographer

The equality of women in the film industry is something that's very important to me, in fact, I wrote THIS post on my thoughts about it a few months ago. So when I heard about IMDB approving the new F Rating system you think I'd be thrilled, but in reality I can't think of anything worse for us!

For those not in the know, the F Rating is a classification for any film which is directed by a woman, written by a woman or stars two significant women on screen in their own right (not a girlfriend or mother character.) Films that have all 3 of these requirements receive a special "Triple F Rating". Popular F Rated films include Moana, Girl On The Train and Hidden Figures just to name a few.

Founded in 2014 by Holly Tarquini, head of Bath film festival, her goal was to help support women and drive equality into the film industry. Unfortunately I think the F Rating does the complete opposite.

film student with clapper board

female film maker

Giving these films a special rating shows that they are different from the "norm", the norm being films made by men. It makes it a novelty thing when what we really want and need is for our films to be treated and valued the same way that films by men are. I realise this paragraph can come across as quite man-hating and that's the opposite of what I want. I want men and women to be treated equally, not one more than the other or one better than the other. I found a quote by Gloria Steinem (feminist, journalist and political activist) which I think explains it perfectly.

"Just as there are "novelists" and then "women novelists," there are "movies" and then "chick flicks." Whoever is in power takes over the noun -- and the norm -- while the less powerful get an adjective."

Making a list of "female" films does just this. Rather than taking a step towards equality, the F rating takes a big step back. 

Another issue that bothers me is that it's only female directors, writers or actors who qualify for this rating. What about female cinematographers, sound recordists, gaffers or producers? There are so many women bossing it throughout the film industry so if you're going to celebrate them, you need to celebrate them all. Technical jobs such as cinematographer and gaffer are thought of as "men's jobs" possibly even more than writer, director and actor roles so it's really important to champion these. 

girl film makers

Some people may also actively avoid these films, missing the point entirely and just thinking they are feminist rants rather than normal films that just happen to be made by or about women. 

One last thing that bothers me is that there are only 22000 F-Rated films on IMDB. This sounds like quite a lot until you realise there is a total of over 4 million films on that site. This just shows that something needs to be done to improve equality in the film industry, but I don't think this is it. 

So, what do you think? Do you agree with me or are you backing the F-Rating? Let me know in the comments!

See you soon,

Beth x


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