The truth is that we obviously still need feminism. Women are still paid roughly 23 percent less than men are for doing the same work; women are still blamed for their own sexual assaults because they “asked for it” in one way or another; and women and girls are still simply not recognized for how absolutely awesome we are. It’s one thing to sit and complain about these things, and an entirely different–way more awesome thing–to actually take action, which is what actress Geena Davis (yup, the star of Beetlejuice!) is doing now through her Geena Davis Institute On Gender In Media.
She’s conducted a bunch of studies on women and girls in media and is working toward bringing more amazingly strong female characters to our TV sets and movie screens. Don’t think we need it? Here are some scary stats from her most recent study:
* For every one female character on a children’s show, there are 2.25 male characters.
* Over 73 percent of family films have a male narrator.
* Nearly one out of three female characters in family films are dressed in “sexy” outfits, whereas less than one in ten guys are dressed like that.
* For every one female speaking character in a prime-time comedy, there are more than two speaking male characters.
There you have it. Women and girls make up over half the population, yet in the media we’re outnumbered by men and boys two to one. And when we do appear, we’re often either silent or sexy–if not both. I’ve actually noticed this and have stopped watching shows where I don’t think there are enough (or real enough) female characters. For instance, my boyfriend and I started watching Breaking Bad a while ago–it’s a super addictive show–more violent than most stuff I like, but it’s interesting so I kept watching for a while . . . until I realized that there were only two women on the whole show, that both were minor roles, and that neither one was likable. What the hell? I pointed that out to my boyfriend, and now he doesn’t watch either.
The thing is, the more strong, powerful, smart women we see on TV and in movies, the more people will come to expect strong, powerful, smart women in real life. We’re not an anomaly, we’re the norm–and it’s time that the media world (and the real world) woke up to that fact!
Ladies, keep your eyes open to what you’re watching, and keep up on this project. It’s cool, and I think it could make a really big difference.
What do you think? Have you noticed a gender bias in the shows you watch? How many TV shows do you watch that have more male characters than female? Think about it and then tell me in the comments!