Gender Bias in Films

Fresh from finishing my last exercise, one of my Facebook friends posted an article called “20 Facts Everyone Should Know About Gender Bias in Movies”. As I had been look at Mulvey’s article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, I thought that it would make an interesting read and boy, was I surprised.

Although, the article is statistics based. It very much related to the points raised in Mulvey’s article. It is also quite sad, in this day and age, that in the nearly 70 years of film we haven’t really evolved very far.

In the article, Chemaly states “read them and weep” and this is most certainly the case. Most shockingly is that films made in the UK and US are some of the worse. This is also considering how determined we are as a country (I can only really speak of the UK) to be politically correct at all times, even drumming into very young children.

In relation to Mulvey’s article, I found a number of points to which it related to such as

  • The second point “Out of a total of 5,799 speaking or named characters 30.9 percent were female, 69.1 percent male”. In Mulvey’s article, she states that women are shown as passive characters and this is a perfect example. By having so few female characters speaking or even named, it forces women to be pushed into the background and inferior to the male characters. Thus showing them to the audience as less important.
  • Points 11, 12 and 13 discuss how women are physically showed i.e. wearing sexy or sexualizing clothes, thin or either partially or fully naked. Against Mulvey’s article, this clearly demonstrates how women are made into sexual objects for male viewers. Sadly, this also happens to be the case in children’s films too.
  • Points 18, 19 and 20 discuss how very few women are given roles with occupational power, thus showing the male characters as dominant. They article also points out that men are more likely to be attorneys, judges, academics and doctors, this links into Mulvey’s point (although it is made towards Hitchcock’s films) that men are seen to be on the “right side of the law”.

The article then goes on to discuss how, by continuing this way of creating films, it perpetuates the male and female stereotypes. Men are often seen as controlling, dominant and often violent whereas women are seen as passive, sexualized and easily manipulated. These harmful and unrealistic stereotypes are then transferred to the real world when they could just as easily be reversed. Most movie fans are completely unaware of this gender bias, however the impact is evident from our children. Girls are “trained” to have low expectations, to be submissive and to objectify themselves. Whereas boys are “trained” to have high expectations, be dominant and be in control. In relation to Mulvey’s article, she discusses how women are included in movies to be a sexual object for the male viewers, thus showing that women are “trained” not only to objectify themselves but to also be open to objectification by men.


About kunsworthphotography

I am currently studying towards a BA (Hons) in Photography with OCA and I have 2 children, Evie(4 years old) and Connor(3 years old)
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