Saturday, 8 May 2010

Movies that are bad for Women

Societies are shaped by everyone's everyday actions. In turn, what we see around us shapes our own thoughts and deeds. And vice-versa. And the other way round. And so on.
Probably animated by this spirit - everything matters, and everyone can do something about it - Alison Bechdel, a comic strip author, put together three basic rules to assess whether a film is worth watching. The film needs to
1. have at least two women in it
2. who talk to each other
3. about something besides a man.

Try it. You'll be surprised. In Avatar, for example, there are women - but they only talk about a man. In "Up", another recent success, women don't talk to each other at all. The films that challenge stereotypes about women's roles in society are few and far between. It's a man's world on the silver screen.

View and add movies on the bechdel list: HERE. The picture above is adapted from Allison Bechdel's blog, which you can find HERE. It displays the comic strip that is at the origin of the Bechdel rule.

1 comment:

Ms Duck said...

Thank you for blogging about Alison Bechdel's maxim of female interaction and their own action.

I have to disagree with your examples though, Avatar depicts the lead female as a personification of nature and Mother Earth - which is depicted as the soul worth saving in the film. The leader of the indigenous race is her mother and they have a relationship in the film. The ancestors that are used as the ultimate power in the film are also referred to as feminine. The destructive and ignorant forces in the film are explicitly masculine. I agree that the love interest story line is reductive for the female warrior but ultimately she saves her own people and the avatars.

Up depicts the first non-white child in disney / pixar history who has also been abandoned by his father. The wife of the lead male dies almost immediately and he spends the rest of the film mourning her. His moral actions are shown to be done in her memory by using shots of the objects / endeavours she left behind. Kevin the bird is a female who is trying to save her babies, she does with the help of the humans but ultimately saves them herself. I take the point that there are few female voices in the film however.

I think the film St Trinians fulfills the Bechdel rules but is one of the most damaging films to women.