I found an interesting video confronting gender norms. This video is an advertisement for a larger movement called the Representation Project. Lead by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a up and coming documentary film maker who has filmed Miss Representation (a documentary about misrepresentations of women in the media) and The Invisible War (a documentary on rape in the military), this project aims to bring awareness to the problematic norms that shape society and cause problems to the youth and members of our community. The video includes speaker Jackson Katz, who has his own documentary Tough Guise, about how hypermasculinity in the media teaches young men to rape and is a cause of the school shooting epidemic.
I think projects like this are really important. While individuals like myself can do small projects to affect our local community and promote education where we are located, individuals have limited resources and time. When big time stars such as Rosario Dawson and these well known documentary film makers take on an advocacy like this, they draw more attention on a larger scale. They have the resources to help make a grassroots movement across the country and hopefully make political and societal changes if enough people get involved. I hope you enjoy the video– it pretty much sums up what my advocacy project was this semester.
I found this interesting article about how most of the new young adult novels being adapted to movie (such as the Hunger Games or Divergent) have heroines that are very petite. Now while many people wouldn’t give this coincidence a second thought, I think it’s something that isn’t just limited to these movie adaptations but speaks to Hollywood as a whole. Women who are plus sized main role stars are usually in roles where they are meant to be mocked (usually by skinnier actresses), or they are put in smaller roles.
I think that as a culture we shame anyone who isn’t a size two. Women as a whole (i’m guilty of this) shame ourselves if we think we are an inch outside what we think is acceptable for our bodies. I think as a society we should be more tolerant of difference and I think body size is one way that we especially shame women. Men aren’t exempt from this shaming- Men who are not buff like the terminator or lack any muscle definition are also shamed for not fitting into what society sees as the “correct male figure”.
I think in order to overcome this problem we should teach children from a young age acceptance of difference and acceptance of things tat are outside the norm.
According to a study of last year’s top 50 movies, movies that have 2 or more women who talk about something that isn’t a man, make up to 60 million more than movies who don’t. This test, called the Bechadel test, has gained popularity in recent years. And while it doesn’t indicate whether a movie advocates for feminist ideals” it does indicate that women do more than just participate in the traditional female stereotypes (ie women are “boy-crazy” or are dependent on men).
So if movies that pass this test make more money- why aren’t Hollywood producers making moves that can pass the Bechadel test? It’s really a question I couldn’t find an answer to. Maybe gender stereotypes trump making money. Maybe Hollywood producers don’t know the statistic on movies that pass this test. Maybe movie goers aren’t ready for all movies to pass this test and break all gender stereotypes. Gender roles and stereotypes die hard unfortunately, most people don’t even know why their problematic (ie they portray false images of said gender and make a norm that most people don’t want to live up to). I think it’s fantastic that most movies that defy gender norms in one way make more money– Hopefully, more Hollywood producers, movie writers, and directors take the hint and start changing their ways.