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Underwritten? Let’s write her, then!
Questions to Consider:
- Can you think of any underwritten female characters in movies you’ve seen?
- Do your favorite movies pass the Bechdel* test?
- Are there at least two named female characters?
- Are they talking to one another?
- Is their conversation about anything other than a man?
What We Think:
We love this. Like a lot. Can you crowdwrite a movie? (Kidding, sort of…) Underwritten Female Character is a parody movie trailer that both makes fun of and is critical of archetypes assigned to female characters, many of which are sexist, underdeveloped, and overused.
In this case, these are the Manic Pixie Dream Girl as represented by Lola; the take-no-shit comic relief Black woman as represented by Sassy; Mama Bear, the actress designated too old for Hollywood (not so much a trope as a sad reality); the uber-hot mechanic Eye Candy; and the practically invisible Asian-American character (who’s unnamed). Lola’s mission is to break out of her restrictive stereotype, and is hilariously challenged by a lonely horde of hipsters and a depressed guy whose mom just died.
This video is so funny because it skewers some unfortunate truths. A study conducted by San Diego State University found that out of the top 100 films of 2015, only 22% of female characters were the protagonists, 34% of all major characters, and 33% of all speaking characters. The numbers are even more dismal for female characters of color. Only 13% of characters were Black women, 4% were Latina, and 3% Asian (which decreased a full point from 2014). Female characters of color were also less likely than white women to be major characters.
Again, anyone else down to make Underwritten Female Characters the real deal?
— Colleen Sparks
Where We Saw It
YouTube. June 2016.