CMU School of Drama

Monday, February 06, 2017

Here's How Hollywood Views Women

The Frisky: Last year there was a fairly amazing Twitter account being shared regularly. Run by Ross Putnam, a screenwriter, @femscriptintros garnered quite a bit of buzz for posting the short intros awarded female characters in major Hollywood films.


Angel Zhou said...

This article was well-organized and extremely entertaining in the most poignant way possible. While the article angers me, it is almost not a surprise anymore, which only makes it worse. I feel as though I have seen so much of this sexism and objectification of female bodies that job postings like these almost no longer come as a surprise.

This is bad.

The second something like this becomes “normal”, we have lost as a society. Hollywood is definitely strongly about looks, and it is even evident in the drama programs around the nation (and at CMU). Looks matter in entertainment because charisma sells. Though this article shows that there is a difference between female and masculine looks, I almost feel as though there must be more to the spectrum—there also must be job postings for “sexy” men who must have a certain amount of muscle mass in specific places. So, while I find this article disturbing, I also am keeping an open mind to the cause of this need for “sexiness”, which is the natural human tendency to care for appearance over all else during first impressions.

Kelly Simons said...

This is absurd and it makes me sad. I think I’ve seen blips of this article here and there a little while ago, but this one really grinds my gears. I hate that female casting calls are so specific, and then male casting calls are huge umbrella descriptions. And you know that if specific heights and weights were posted on male casting calls that no one would have it. It would be changed before the call was even posted. Articles like this really make me uncertain about my future as a TD in such a male dominated field. I’m already worried, but now and extra level of stress has been added because I could potentially not be hired if my measurements weren’t exactly what the hiring team enjoy. It doesn’t even have to be that conscious of a decision, but a more attractive female will be hired even if our skills are the exact same.

Helena Hewitt said...

First of all, I would really like to know the context of sexy quacking. Secondly, although I understand that physical types can be important for certain roles, the stark difference between the physical descriptions for male and female characters shows that a lot of time the women in these situations are not characters as much as set dressing. Also, I read this piece of for writer’s the other day that was about the tendency of bad writing to describe eyes by simply comparing the color to a physical object. “Her eyes were the gray-blue of a stormy sky.” The author wrote, essentially, tell me about the smudged mascara, the bloodshot, half-lidded stare, the inability to hold eye contact for more than a few seconds, but for god's sake don’t tell me what precious gem their eyes most resemble. There are ways for describing physical appearance that go beyond the surface and actually tell the person reading the description something essential about the character. I understand that casting directors want an attractive actress, but given the outrageous beauty standards in the entertainment industry you’re probably going to get that already, and besides there are so many more interesting and wonderful things a woman can be than “pretty.”

Julian Goldman said...

“The love interest for the Man in the film will not require as much acting skill as the man as she is only there as a plot point.” It may be depressing, but at least it is honest.

In general, most of these are funny at a glance but then frustrating when I think about it. Because some of these are just absurd, all of them are at least somewhat objectifying, and as a whole they promote the idea that women have to look a certain way. I think a big part of the problem is that Hollywood is trying to show people what they want to see (or rather what they will pay money to see) but Hollywood is also setting the standards for what we expect. It has become this cycle where film almost only portrays young attractive women (when it bothers to portray women at all) because Hollywood thinks that is what people want because of the fact that media has led people to have those expectations. The way I see it, the best way to counter this is to make sure to support movies that portray realistic complex women with a lot of diversity both in terms of the groups those women belong to/ traits those women has, but also just a wide variety in terms of who those characters are as people. If as a society we start buying lots of tickets to movies that tell the stories of women in a respectful, engaging, and complex way, more of those movies will come to exist.