It’s no secret that many different kinds of people are either under represented or misrepresented in Hollywood. Movies and TV show roles tend to skew towards thin, toned, conventionally attractive white actors and actresses. And when it comes to female representation, this is no exception. Despite the fact that it’s 2015, Hollywood is still run by males, and female characters are still treated unfairly.
Shows with diverse casts and strong female characters like How To Get Away With Murder, Orange Is The New Black, and Parks And Recreation show that things are improving, but we still have a long way to go. There are a lot of kinds of female representation still missing out there! Personally, I would love to see more actresses who are of average weight – not thin and toned, not plus size, but happily in the middle – and it’s never brought up in the show. By that I mean she isn’t defined by her weight at all, it’s just how she looks. That would be nice!
There are lots of other things I want to see more of too, which is why I really enjoyed reading through this Ask Reddit thread. Here are 14 kinds of girls we need to see more of in movies and TV shows:
Romantic Leads Who Aren't Conventionally AttractiveDmKrispin: I would also like to see romantic comedies in which the leading lady is not conventionally attractive, but the leading man is. We see the reverse frequently enough, but we don't see unpretty female characters being romanced unless they go through a makeover or some other metamorphosis first. YES. How many damn movies do I have to watch where the dude is not conventionally attractive (Adam Sandler, anyone?), but his wife/girlfriend is absolutely gorgeous? Say what you want about Girls, but this episode where Hannah has a one-night stand with an attractive man made an excellent point. Viewers were disgusted that "average-looking" Hannah landed such a good-looking guy. Everyone was outraged. Why?! It happens the other way around in movies ALL. THE. TIME.
Shows Like Gilmore GirlsBraveLilToaster42: We need another Gilmore Girls. Lane Kim was Korean but it wasn't a stereotype or plot device. It just was. Her dating outside her race was also portrayed well. Sookie was plus size but at no point in the series was it a thing. I don't think they ever brought it up. We saw two different ends of the income spectrum in each episode. Rory is a bookworm and whip smart and she's the heroine. Lorelai is smart, sassy single mother who only suffers fools when she chooses to. None of them were Strong Female Characters but they were all well written, well developed characters. They deal with real issues like money, relationships, friendship, and failure. The drama wasn't contrived or over the top. The humor was clever but not silly. OH MY GOD YES. I think Gilmore Girls was a few years before it's time. It has so many amazing female characters and feminist plot lines. This is one of the reasons I love this show so much. No one ever focused on Sookie's weight. No other show ever made the bookworm the main character in an awesome way. There are so many great things about this show that it would take me forever to write.
Lead Female Protagonistsimhereforthemeta: One thing I'd like to see more of is shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Weeds, and Unreal, with absolutely awful main female characters who do terrible things but are still the lead. We need more female Walter Whites in this world, more female Don Drapers and Nucky Thompsons. There are so many male protagonists out there who are beloved despite the terrible things they do. You can't really say that about women - they are always made to be incredibly unlikeable as the protagonist. Nancy from Weeds is a great example - she was a terrible person who made a ton of mistakes, but there was something likeable about her.
Black Women Who Aren't A Stereotypeglow-hoe: Black women who aren't a stereotype (sassy black friend, being the joke as a fat black woman, angry, etc). A great example would have to be How to Get Away With Murder! Yes. This. I'm so happy HTGAWM exists just because of this character.
Women Who Don't Talk About Lovekittyatthedisco: Ladies who aren't even implied to be someone's love interest. A lot of movies and TV seem to think they can't have a female character without at least hinting that she's going to get together with someone later. Even when single women are represented, they always end up being with someone. Or they're single and make a thing of it, like it defines them. Or they're single for some big, serious reason. There are never characters who just aren't interested in relationships or hooking up, or characters who aren't obsessed with finding love in some way. It would be nice to see that.
Plus-Size Women Who Aren't Defined By Their Weightsapandsawdust: Co-signed with everything everyone else is saying, with added emphasis on fat women whose whole deal isn't hating themselves or dieting or whathaveyou. Like Donna from Parks and Rec. Yasss. And Donna is such a great example! She was a plus-size woman, but never once did anyone, including her, mention her weight. Donna was just an awesome character living her life. I loved that about the show and the character. There need to be more characters like Donna.
Bisexual Womenahatmadeofshoes12: I would love to see more bisexual women (and men actually) where they weren't just shown off as a sex object, treated as bi now straight/lesbian later, and they actually identified as bisexual and not some amorphous "I just like beautiful people" identity. I swear bisexuality is never taken seriously on TV and even shows that are really progressive on LG sexuality seem to completely neglect the B (looking at you Orange is the New Black). This is so true. Callie on Grey's Anatomy is one of the only bisexual characters I can think of, and a lot of her role focused on that bisexuality. Annalise Keating as well, although it definitely doesn't define her. Basically, we need more Shonda Rimes.
Gender Nonconforming Womenworried19: Gender nonconforming/masculine/butch women. As far as I know, outside of Brienne on Game of Thrones, there isn't any representation of that. I never saw women who looked like me in movies or TV shows growing up. You almost never see women portrayed this way on movies and TV shows. I can think of only two: Brienne from GOT and Big Boo from OITNB. Let's do better, Hollywood.
Females Who Get Along All The Timeyoushouldhearbells: I'd love to see more women getting along with each other, particularly if there are characters who are sisters. That's actually the reason I loved "Frozen." I felt that Anna and Elsa really cared for each other, even if they had to work through a big misunderstanding. The two were never "catty" towards each other (btw, I hate that word). It's also why I loved Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope's relationship on "Parks and Rec." They constantly build each other up, even when they've had a fight, they resolve it maturely. Surprisingly, even the way the fairies interact with each other in the Tinkerbell movies, especially "The Pirate Fairy" mirror the kinds of relationships between female characters I'd like to see more. I was pleasantly surprised by those movies. YES. I am so sick of seeing female friendships where the friends are mean to each other or jealous of each other half the time. I loved Leslie and Ann's relationship on Parks and Rec because it was so loving and wonderfully nice. It reminded me of how much I don't see that on my TV screen.
Better Lesbian Representationcrossbeats: Lesbians with more to them than just being lesbians (gay people in general, but since we're talking about women...). The show Complications nailed it with Nurse Gretchen. She's a badass, snarky nurse, then we visit her house and, oh, hmm, she's got a girlfriend, ok. And it's never mentioned, no one brings up that she's a lesbian, no other characters are like "what? You're a lesbian?", (so far) no "is she going to get with a dude?" drama. Just a character who happens to be gay. Because that's how we are. You can label me a thousand different ways, lesbian is only one way to do so. And it doesn't affect the vast majority of my day-to-day life whatsoever. I've never seen this show, but I do agree that there needs to be more characters who aren't defined by their sexuality the way lesbian characters often are.
More Realistic Diversityfirefawkes23: "Diverse and realistic" sounds like a good way to phrase it. By "diverse", I don't just mean racially, although that's one aspect and it's important. I mean I want to see, for example, women who aren't mothers and don't want to be and are fine with that alongside women who are mothers; I want to see women with a variety of perspectives and experiences and personalities. Yes. The best way to put what we need is "diverse and realistic." So many female characters fit stereotypical roles, even when they are of different races. We need more racially diverse characters, but we also need more personalities out there. Orange Is The New Black does a really great job with this. Many different races and sexualities are represented, as well as realistic personalities. There are women who don't want children, women who don't understand their sexuality, women who mess up in real ways, women who fight but also get along in a real life way. We need more shows like that!
Better Evil Female CharactersIm_a_god_damn_otter: Everyone seems to focus on the female leads but female antagonists are absolute garbage. We either have a preppy manipulative b!tch or a seductive woman in a catsuit (I'm looking at you cat woman) There are also witches, queens, and stepmothers in there, but their all pretty bland too. I'm not saying these roles can't be good characters, Its just that I want to see something different. This is similar to the other point, but when making a female character evil, why does she have to be weirdly sexy or bitchy or the girl who sleeps around and steals boyfriends?
Normal Women Who Aren't A Jokelasciels_illusion: In addition to what else has been said, how about women who can just be normal, but not have it be a joke. It always seems like shows have perfectly normal dudes who are not particularly good-looking or accomplished, but all the women have to be epic somehow just to be held as on par with the men. It always seems like the George Costanzas and Kevin James schmoes are somehow "peers" of women who are models, gorgeous top-notch lawyers, executives, etc. It implies that a super-accomplished and/or distinguished woman is the equal of a completely average man. I'm tired of that. And if there is an average Jane in the mix, then the whole show is about how much of an underdog she is because of her averageness--even though all the dudes are just as average! Everything this girl said. Yes.
More Females In GeneralT-Flexercise: I would like to see 50 percent of all characters being female. That's literally it. There will be good characters, and there will be bad characters, just like there are for men. But right now, only like 20 percent of speaking characters in film and tv are female. And often, it's because people think of men as the default, and the result is that "normal" characters where "gender doesn't matter" are men, and they'll add in a woman if they need a secretary, a prostitute, or a love interest. There's plenty of room in the world for good female characters, and bad female characters, shitty action heroes, and deep nuanced portrayals. But any one perfect female character isn't going to make a shred of difference if 80 percent of the people on the screen are constantly men. This. All of this. There just needs to be more girls. And, Vanity Fair, you need to be more diverse please.
Which of these do you agree with? What do you disagree with? What did we forget to include? Tell me in the comments.