If you were a movie producer...

Think of any recent films you’ve seen. The characters go to see a doctor. Is the doctor a man or a woman? The characters go to a CEO. Is the CEO a man or a woman? Statistics show that approximately 80% of the time, extras with speaking parts go to men. Even then, in the brief examples where the extra is a woman, they are often that way to be gawked at or made fun of, which is another subconscious way of making women feel isolated from the world of film. Another mistake in portraying realistic female characters is the recurring trope of simultaneous appraisal and belittlement of femininity. Female characters with perfect hair and make-up show an obvious disregard for the actual process of ‘feminine’ practises that must be undertaken to achieve their appearance. They have perfect eyeliner, yet mock women who spend time on makeup. They have perfect hair, yet are never seen grooming it. This creates an artificial paradox that makes these on-screen women more like aliens than real people.To repeat Nicole Holofcener’s quote: “What’s the trick to writing a great female character? Make her human.” All people want are female characters that reflect reality. Who has flaws, goals, emotions and feels pain. Who speaks and interacts with other characters, and isn’t just seen as ‘eye-candy’ or a joke. Just another human being on the big screen.

My question for you is: If you were a movie producer or a script writer how would you potray women? Will how you portray them help in breaking the bias?How?

Comments (30)

  • tom Tom @ Topical Talk
    30 Mar 2022

    Thank you for this important question, sincere_spring. Your point about make-up is interesting. You say it makes on-screen women look more like aliens than real people. Can you explain what the impact of this might be?

    1. British Council.jpg sincere_spring | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
      Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 30 Mar 2022

      Most movies show that women look perfect and have perfect live styles but this is alien because in reality, we all know that no one has a perfect live style. They fail to show what actually happens in reality, how women are not fully accepted in society and this has many people to not see the effect of gender bias in reality. Many people(kids especially) live their lives on TV and if they continue to see this fake portrayed lies on TV, they will think that life is supposed to be the way they watch it but reality will show them something different. Movies should show exactly how women are treated.

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    30 Mar 2022

    I agree with how you started sincere spring. I am the biggest fan of DC Comics and I have noticed gender bias in their acting industry. If you are keen enough, you find that there are 35 men acting as heroes and 10 women only this means 77.8% are men while 22.2% are women and finally adds up to 100.0%. If were the script writer I would make sure that I put an even number of women and men in the play. I would also give good roles because if I give good roles then women and girls will feel motivated after watching the movie or play. For example, if I would be the script writer of DC Comics, I won't give women roles of being housewifes. WE NEED TO BREAKTHE BIAS.

    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      rational_grape's comment 30 Mar 2022

      Thank you for sharing an idea that links to something that you are personally passionate about.

  • British Council.jpg fantastic_cymbals | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    30 Mar 2022

    This is a fantastic post sincere_spring.
    If I were a movie director, I would try as much as possible to paint a positive image of females as hardworking and effective. This is because if the world begins to see women as impactful, then they would begin to know the value of women and appreciate them.
    As the popular saying goes from the 1970's musician Joni Mitchell that says "You never know what you have until it is gone". I would try as much as possible to depict in my movies the value of women on earth and how life would be without them. This would at least help to enlighten those who watch the movie on the value of women and teach us to appreciate them.

    1. British Council.jpg sincere_spring | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
      fantastic_cymbals's comment 04 Apr 2022

      Thank you so much fantastic_cymbals. How would you do that?

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    30 Mar 2022

    Media plays a big role of influencing the people’s daily lives this is because it influences how people
    view the world in general. Mass media is an agent of socialization and from this role; it has been attacked by a lot of criticism from different portions of the society. There is a wide range of media among them television
    shows, movies, the radio, newspapers, advertisement sand many more. In these many forms of media, there are
    images of men and women. These images are depicted in different ways and with different characteristics and having different meanings ,women were perceived as the weaker gender and, consequently, as portrayed as objects suggesting that women are stereotyped in the various films and movies, the characters in films have had a huge impact, with regard to gender stereotype, on audiences of all ages. Though there have been debates of how female characters are being portrayed in films, from being submissive to and lately, adopting more dominant roles in films, has there really been a change in male characters in films instead. I personally feel like they are portrayed in different ways in different genres of film.
    In horror movies I have they are portrayed as extremely stupid and klutzy. Horror films portray women as helpless damsels in distress.
    While in some we are portrayed as the "dumb blonde" a common example is the movie "mean girls" it made it seem like it was totally okay that she was stupid, because at least she was funny and beautiful. In many movies young women especially blondes are shown as ditzy.
    Women are characterized as weak, easily frightened and hysterical in many movies and TV shows. When women are seen as fearless and powerful they are generally characterized as a villain. Women in TV seem to either be pretty or smart, successful in family or workplace but hardly being able to accomplish both. Women characters seem to be very dependent on men, and make being single look bad and if a character is single there must be something wrong with them. Media gives women and men a very unrealistic vision on what women should be like, that they need to look absolutely perfect.

    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      champion_elephant's comment 30 Mar 2022

      This comment is extremely observant and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it several times to think about every example you mentioned. Well done! Can you think of any examples of how men are unfairly represented in films?

      1. British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
        Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 31 Mar 2022

        yes actually I can, ever notice how in horror films men are always the night in shining amour they have to be tall, handsome and much more, if they are anything from these qualifications they are nerdy are always associated with girls they have glasses or have pimples and they are weak. They are meant to be dominant stoic creatures void of emotion that is how they are represented.

  • British Council.jpg incredible_trumpet | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    30 Mar 2022

    If I were a movie producer I would first of all not make the women play an abstract role like the typical scenario where they are subordinate to men and play supporting characters. Rather I would bring a fresh air of shock just like oceans 8 where it was not the typical issue of one smart woman assembling men but they where all smart women. In my movie my lead would be a female who would part of a group of programmers in a real powerful corporation then they would be given a task to complete and she would be the best at it and end up getting a promotion. The antagonist would be a male who would feel threatened by her and try by every means to sabot ash her efforts but to no avail then he would try to deceive by becoming close to her and stealing the secrets behind her success, then tells the company that she has been a cheat making her look like a copycat. At this point most movies would either make her come back for revenge or find a way of proving her innocence but I would rather not do this instead I will represent her in the true essence of a woman who would definitely be broken and feel sad and angry but realizes that people make mistakes and hers was trusting the wrong person, she would forgive and stands up picks up from where she left and starts all over then in the course of this realizes her hidden potential and uses it to build her career.
    I chose this scenario because women are known to be looked down upon and stirred to come back for revenge but in real life women are compassionate and loving and always forgive no matter they can ignore pains and use them to build on themselves but the way some movies portrays us it seems like we love fighting, there are many other scenarios I can use but this would break the stereotype of revenge and hatred amongst women.

    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      incredible_trumpet's comment 30 Mar 2022

      It's interesting that you have made the generalisation that all women "are loving and always forgive". I think this might actually be a positive example of gender bias, because although it is a nice thing, it is not true for all women and it is based on assumptions. Can you think of any other examples of gender bias that paint all men or all women in a positive light?

      1. British Council.jpg incredible_trumpet | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
        Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 31 Mar 2022

        Another example is that all men are romantic especially because the way the movies make it seem but in real context it is not the same, some are just naturally kind and sweet but because of the way movies paint it most girls take it otherwise.

      2. British Council.jpg motivated_camel | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
        Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 01 Apr 2022

        Therer are many examples of biases that point all men and women in a good light and I will point out a few. Some are that a woman can't hurt a fly, all men are strong and physically fit, all women are friendly. All these stereotypes exist within my immediate environment and have been personally experienced by me. After inquiring from members of my class, it appears that males and females alike tend to subconsciously cling to biases that paint them in good light but is this really the way to go? After deep thought, I realize that every bias that paints one gender or group in good light simultaneously tarnishes the reputation of the other gender for example: the stereotype that all women are "loving and forgive" will at the same time paint the picture that most or all men are opposite of women and thus men will be stereotyped as "spiteful and unforgiving" OR the stereotype that all men are tough and resilient will paint the picture that all women are "weak and crumble under pressure" . These examples show that no matter how glamorized some biases might seem, every bias has its own negative consequences or effects.

  • St Michael's Middle School crafty_land | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2022

    I think it is unfair to say or portray that all woman/girls are perfect but it is also unfair to say that some woman/girls don't like make-up or looking good.
    I think the only way to portray women/girls fairly in movies is to give a wider variety of women/girls with different emotions, goals, personalities and looks. No one, not even movie stars, wakes up perfect so why isn't this represented in movies?

    1. avatar.jpg Olivia @ KPMG
      crafty_land's comment 31 Mar 2022

      You've made some brilliant points @crafty_land. Can you think of a movie that, in your opinion, does portray women fairly and therefore sets a good example for the movie industry?

  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    31 Mar 2022

    We must all realize the importance of artworks and that they are a tool to raise society’s awareness of women’s issues and work to find solutions to them. The importance of artworks does not stop at addressing women’s problems and presenting women’s issues and prejudices that they face only, but it can also have another impact from women’s changing their perceptions of women and reforming her mental image because of stereotypical concepts, customs and traditions. If I were a director or producer, I would turn to series and films that highlight the social role of women, as well as presenting their achievements and success stories instead of presenting them in a negative and weak manner all the time, and to stop broadcasting exaggerated scenes of women's exposure to violence. This image makes the follower habitual And it is natural and here the results are disappointing and frightening, and because artworks have the power of influence and change, we must take them as a means to discuss and change the entrenched stereotype towards women in general.. .

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    31 Mar 2022

    I want to talk about gender bias in films in an unconscious manner, my focus for today will be Disney. Although Disney has gotten better in breaking stereotypes ever notice how in Disney films, the female character is portrayed as the weaker sex the female characters almost always have an occupation of some domestic chore. These domestic chores include duties such as, cooking and cleaning. Gender bias can be found in movies belonging to Disney productions: "Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Incredibles, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Inside Out". These are just some I know of, it makes children to feel like they can no longer be a role model to children. Children can’t look up to female characters when they don’t have a variety of jobs, to meet the full potential. In Cinderella, the main female character is treated like a servant by her stepmother and stepsisters each day of her life. In the little mermaid Ariel’s job does not require cooking or cleaning, but she is expected to only be a wife, it is actually quite sad. Even in the Incredibles the main character is a woman but which makes it seem like a win for women but, it is branching from the female character limited by the domestic chore; when looking at her undercover day job, she is a stay-at-home Mom. Female characters are still facing the inequalities, in the movies because they are not allowed to reach their full potential in careers. Which could then ultimately make little girls feel as if cooking, cleaning, or being a wife is all they can live up to.

    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      champion_elephant's comment 31 Mar 2022

      You make some excellent points here that I had never considered before. Thank you for helping me to think differently!

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    01 Apr 2022

    Bias in script writing let us look at the movie Frozen, the movie might seem as the movie is centered around two females but ever notice how Anna kind of plays the role of mother for Elsa and is still shouldered by a man. She has to make sure that Elsa is in check. For example the movie the black swan, the female lead a perfectionist ballerina slowly loses grip on reality the movie gives a rather submissive role to female characters. But the language used to describe the characters gave male characters more power and agency in that film. Even in super hero movies ever notice how the men can fly but the women can only speed walk. Maybe the script writers are at fault ever think of that.

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    01 Apr 2022

    A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, editing; and arranging to finance. Just as I have said, film or movie producers select the script; editing. What do I mean with editing, I mean I can make corrections and look at the areas where gender inequality might occur or change some roles that may seem biased.

    I think women need motivation for more of them to get into the acting industry. I know of a woman who was so good at her acting and inspired lots of people including our neighbor. Kenya has never produced a great actress like Lupita Nyong'o. Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o made her Marvel debut playing Nakia in Black Panther, and fans have been eager to see her return to the big screen after being noticeably absent from the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. She became a big star even bigger than the black panther because of her strength and because she was a female. Good job to the writers and producers who brought Nakia( Lupita Nyong'o) to the best she is and gave her a good role in the movie.

    I feel it is good to avoid gender bias in the media including movies because when people see what their role models do, they will also try to do it to others thinking it's the best thing to do, and I know people who do this in society. Children are easily influenced by their big heroes in comics and movies. I mean that we should know what our children do in the media and keep them away from biased activities.
    WE NEED TO BREAK THE BIAS.

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    02 Apr 2022

    Bias in script writing let us look at the movie Frozen, the movie might seem as the movie is centered around two females but ever notice how Anna kind of plays the role of mother for Elsa and is still shouldered by a man. She has to make sure that Elsa is in check. For example the movie the black swan, the female lead a perfectionist ballerina slowly loses grip on reality the movie gives a rather submissive role to female characters. But the language used to describe the characters gave male characters more power and agency in that film. Even in super hero movies ever notice how the men can fly but the women can only speed walk. Maybe the script writers are at fault ever think of that. If I were a director or producer, I would turn to series and films that highlight the social role of women, as well as presenting their achievements and success stories instead of presenting them in a negative and weak manner all the time, and to stop broadcasting exaggerated scenes of women's exposure to violence. This image makes the follower habitual And it is natural and here the results are disappointing and frightening, and because artworks have the power of influence and change, we must take them as a means to discuss and change the entrenched stereotype towards women in general, those are my views.

  • British Council.jpg noble_world | Beit Lahya Prep Girls | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    04 Apr 2022

    If I am a film producer, I can make a movie in which I can eliminate racism against women by showing women in a way that people do not mock.
    Eliminate racism also by making the film under the supervision of women in the more correct sense also for the women to be the heroine of the film and for the film to be an important character, this raises excitement for people and when people feel that women are important in life, racism against them will stop.

  • British Council.jpg openminded_beetle | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    06 Apr 2022

    I am a fan of MARVEL series and I noticed 20% of female play the role of a protagonist and 74% of male play the role of a protagonist which is gender biased. If was a script writer, I would assign the role of a protagonist more to the female.

  • British Council.jpg shining_night | Ain Arik Basic Co-ed School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    08 Apr 2022

    Well, the world of cinema is very wide, as it presents real stories or novels or fiction from the imagination of a person called the writer or a person who lived a painful reality or witnessed painful events that made him write them to present them to the director. Ignoring, marginalizing, or deliberately showing a certain gender in a clear way, it becomes entrenched in the scenes and may become part of his behavior or thinking, for example: 1 We always see a man in the form of a strong intellectual who serves the educated working society and has power over women 2 We rarely see an educated, educated, working woman They serve the community or even it is impossible for us to see them with these pictures. They always draw a picture of a weak, irresponsible woman who is a traitor to her husband. She has no right to express her opinion, traitor and disgrace.to satisfy them. The question here is how can we overcome these mindsets .

  • British Council.jpg super_writer | Beitsurik Girls Basic School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    10 Apr 2022

    If I were a film producer or screenwriter: I would make the minor roles and the main roles in a series or movie equal in the proportion of male and female actors
    The film or series will revolve around the subject of the great woman, her importance and value in society and the world, and our duty towards her, and the need to give her all her full rights so that the viewer can watch and benefit greatly from it, and he will know the importance and value of women in society.
    He will learn and teach his children to respect and appreciate women and give them their full rights without deficiency

    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      super_writer's comment 11 Apr 2022

      This sounds a sensible plan, super_writer!

      1. British Council.jpg super_writer | Beitsurik Girls Basic School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
        Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 11 Apr 2022

        Because this plan will benefit me and the world, although if I had done this work, the world would have said incorrect words because of what is going on around the subject of the film

  • British Council.jpg strong_bird | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    12 Apr 2022

    If you are a film producer:
    1)_ I will work on producing films that show the modern problems facing society and that the media did not highlight
    2)_I will not allow old artists to be distinguished with emerging actors who have the same pay and have the same acting roles

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    02 May 2022

    If I was a movie writer, I would try to reduce stereotyping.

    Stereotyping of color.

    In which movie will you find a young girl's room, books or belongings are red or pink? Almost all, while boy's rooms are normally painted blue and have drawings of superheroes, and are filled up with toys that have messages of war. What do I mean by this, The males in movies even if a kid, must be manly maybe not doing chores as stereotyped by society while girls do lots of house chores.

    Stereotyping grades.

    In most movies, boys are expected to be playing in the corridors, bullying other students in school, having bad grades, and others while girls are decent people who rarely get below B-. I once watched a movie but I can't remember the name. The boys were always trouble makers and they only were good at sciences and sports but the girls were humble and the boys are the ones who saved the world because by making a stupid plan.

    Now, why do I have to reduce the stereotypes in the movies?

    The stereotypes in the media are the things that influence attitudes towards different genders and because you see your favorite character doing something, even if it is biased, you will see it as something good to do. This mostly happens to children and thus we should check if the movies children are watching are biased or not. For example, there is an app that allows the parent to decide whether the child should watch something online or not. No matter how far the parent is, there is a message that will reach her to inform her of her/his child's request. If this was kept to use by many parents, the world would be a better place.

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    07 May 2022

    Advertisements are also made by producers and have scriptwriters. Just like making a movie, a script must be and this means that the scriptwriter can be biased, making the ad biased. I learned from the topical activities that a 2020 study showed that 41% of advertising showed women as housewives roles and 28% in an office role. However, 82% of women are the decision-makers when buying a new family car compared to men. I think that this should be more levelized by making or writing more gender-equal scripts and sometimes listening to the ideas that the actors have and the role they think is actually good for them in the advertisement. #BreakTheBias

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