The Hollywood industry has not been very favorable to women for quite a lot of time now. And that claim could have a lot many implications. Firstly, we have had numerous women becoming victims of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of famous producers and actors. And even though feminist movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp were all about bringing such people down, every few days a newer victim and assaulter emerges. Secondly, Hollywood has produced more than just a lot of films and televisions show that stereotype women and objectify them.
They promote concepts like body shaming and women inferiority. To top it off, women have lesser representation when it comes to movies. There are a fairly less number of movies with female lead roles. Or more importantly, movies that portray women as independent of a male partner.
Is Hollywood Dominated With Male Led Films?
Much like rest of the society, Hollywood treats women as second class citizens. And that’s pretty evident with the way that in majority of the movies produced, they are either somebody’s wife, girlfriend or mother. Consequently, women in these films are known with regards to the male they married, slept with or gave birth to. For anybody who would consider this just the feminist exaggeration, research studies find statistics that claim that only 12% of lead roles are played by women in the top grossing films of 2014. But the situation probably only worsened with the coming years. And in recent times, a three percentage point drop has been observed when compared to 2013.
In fact, under representation of women is not only limited to the number of lead roles they secure in Hollywood films. But also to the difference between the number of men and number of women cast in each movie. Between years 2007 and 2012, only 10.7% movies produced had casts with an equal number of men and women. Interestingly, only 30% of speaking roles are assigned to women in films. But even then their characters are usually the ones who don’t make their own decisions or govern their own lives.
Are Trends Changing, will we get to see more of the female lead on our screens?
To some extent, yes. Well, we do now see a lot of recent releases that move around women or cast them in lead roles. Just like we had Jennifer Garner play the role of the vigilante mother in Peppermint. And now, we even have a whole movie with a female superhero coming up- Captain Marvel. Even when each of these films have had their particular ups and downs, the basic success is that they shattered the glass ceiling to some extent. And with the success that actresses like Shailene Woodley and Melissa McCarthy brought to Divergent and Tammy is threatening the existence of this glass ceiling even more.
Lately, we have a had a number of films with women playing the ass-kicking action heroes in films. And the money these earned at box offices are enough to bring the culture of more women led films. Wonder Woman was one of the few films to prove that not only could women win wars as amazing superheroes. But female led movies could become the top grossing films of the summer. Alien: Covenant and Atomic Blonde were other trend setting releases.
Female driven movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2 made millions of dollars. People can’t stop wondering why the trends are not growing. While putting forward the money records for these movies, an expert claimed that it was definitely not only women who watched these films. And that the gender gap is just bad business.
It seems that the ultimate decision rests in the industry. Despite female actresses proving their worth in female lead roles, Hollywood still needs to handle a lot. And only then, it can provide women with the opportunity to work in female-led movies.