I am really passionate about working with women and empowering women and girls. The continual undermining of women and abuse of women as sex objects that exists in popular films, media, online, in pornography and the sexual entertainment industry is extremely damaging to how men view women and to women themselves and I wonder whether we are all so conditioned we hardly notice it.
Watch any mainstream film with a certification of 15 or over and watch how women are portrayed. How much female nudity for example do you see compared to male for example?
Who plays the lead role and how are they portrayed? I’m not saying there aren’t enough women actors in lead roles, it isn’t as simple as that. I am talking about the way women are portrayed in films. Even if the female character is the lead often their strength is depicted through their sexuality and I can’t help but think that films are made mainly for a male audience. Not surprising as the majority of film directors are still men.
This depiction of women in films continues the gender stereotyping of women and continues to peddle to idea that sex sells and that women’s bodies exist for the pleasure and benefit of others.
I’m not a film expert or particularly knowledgable about media but I am a woman and I have watched a few films. I’m uncomfortable that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of equality in films and film making, many of the ideas are out of date and the messaging is seldom positive. It’s disappointing to see so many variations on the same themes, when there is so much potential.
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal, this is so minimal compared to what’s going on in the world but I’d disagree.
At the root of male violence against women is a massive issue about how women are perceived in society and continually disempowered. People look to the media, Kids are impressionable, and what they read and see forms the basis of how they see themselves and the views they have of others. The media has a huge role in taking responsibility for the types of content in the material they produce.
The sliding scale that is male violence against women begins with cat calling in the street, lower pay for women, discounting of the kinds of qualities associated with being a woman, sexualising women and girls, discounting and undervaluing the caring professions. It extends to stalking and the kinds of physical abuse that spring to mind on first thought and then murder.
It’s time to demand change. Women have grown up expecting to have to protect ourselves against the behaviour and actions of men, quieting ourselves down and fading into the back ground so that we don’t attract attention and risk harm. Women expect that we must protect ourselves from the unwanted attention of men when we are out at night, walking to the shops, picking up our children from school or taking physical exercise. Why should we have to when they could just STOP.
I for one are tired of how women are portrayed in films and I want things to change. Let’s not allow our voices to be silenced, let’s play big and support each other into positions where we can facilitate positive change. Men, be our allies and support women into positions where we can add to the conversation and together we can all benefit from the diversity.