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Femininity in Popular Movies

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Amanda Harvey

on 27 June 2013

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Transcript of Femininity in Popular Movies

Women in Popular Films
by Amanda Harvey

Movies being Analyzed
Films nominated for the Best Picture at the Academy Awards since 2004
Films nominated for the Best Film-Drama at the Golden Globe Awards since 2004
A complete list of the films can be found at the end of the presentation

Bechdel Test
Set of three criterion to determine gender bias in film:
What about the female protagonists?
We'll do a qualitative analysis of the female characters in the winning movies for classically feminine characteristics

What is the role of femininity in popular films?
The representation of female characters who do not subscribe to traditional aspects of femininity is around half in popular films.
The amount of non-traditional feminine characters is higher among winners of award ceremonies than the nominees, which is positive, but it is still a bleak amount.
It would appear that non-traditional female characters are favored by award ceremonies
Must have two female characters with names
who talk to each other
about something other than a man
76 movies in total
41 movies passed
7 movies not listed
35 movies did not pass:
19 movies had women that didn't speak to each other
7 movies only talked about men
2 movies had less than two women
What does it mean?
Almost half of the films being nominated for awards do not fairly represent women. This is not to say that they're not good movies, but they may lack female characters, or female characters that are not defined by their relationship to men
What about the winners?
Golden Globes
Academy Awards
2004-Million Dollar Baby
2006-The Departed
2007-No Country for Old Men
2008-Slumdog Millionaire
2009-The Hurt Locker
2010-The King's Speech
2011-The Artist
2004-The Aviator
2005-Brokeback Mountain
2008-Slumdog Millionaire
2010-The Social Network
2011-The Descendants
Million Dollar Baby-passed
The Aviator-the women don't talk
Brokeback Mountain-the women don't talk
The Departed-the women don't talk
No Country for Old Men-dubious pass (very short conversation)
Slumdog Millionaire-the women don't talk
The Hurt Locker-the women don't talk
Avatar-only talk about men
The King's Speech-passed
The Social Network-the women don't talk
The Artist-the women don't talk
The Descendents- passed
How did they do?
Out of 16 total winners
7 passed the Bechdel test. (43%)
8 failed the Bechdel test (50%)
In 7, the women did not talk (43%)
In one, the female characters spoke, but about a man. (6%)
One was unknown
What does it all mean?
Around half of the best films since 2004 have not had fair representation of women who's character development don't revolve around men
Million Dollar Baby-follows a spunky boxer who defies traditional feminine ideals.
Are the characters chaste, and domestic? (traditionally feminine)
How do the characters compare to the contemporary ideal woman according to the book: strong, assertive, active, and independent, rather than passive delicate and dependent?
The Aviator-Katherine Hepburn is the main female protagonist, and she is in many ways a gender traitor, she wears pants for example.
Crash-an ensemble piece, no main female protagonist. Some women are strong and not traditionally feminine, others are more traditional and docile.
Brokeback Mountain-the wives of the male protagonists are the main women in the movie. One is very sexually forward, and the other is quiet and docile
The Departed-the main female character sleeps with two of the male characters, which is unfeminine
No Country for Old Men-the main female is the wife of a male protagonist. She mostly goes along for the ride in the movie
Atonement-the main female is a non-traditional character, who has sexual desires, and is not the ingenue
Slumdog Millionaire-Latika is mostly docile and doesn't actively participate in most of the movie
The Hurt Locker-only one real female character who is not involved in the plot
Avatar-female characters are strong, and not submissive to the male characters
The King's Speech-the main female character is predictably traditionally feminine
The Social Network-the main females are portrayed as mentally unstable, and very sexualized
The Artist-the main character is very traditionally feminine
The Descendants-main female characters are not traditionally feminine, are rebellious and not submissive
Argo-the female characters are only involved as other characters wives. They are mostly traditionally feminine characters
9 out of the 16 winning films had female characters who subscribed to non-traditional definitions of femininity
Works Cited
"2004 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_in_film>.
"2005 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_in_film>.
"2006 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_in_film>.
"2007 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_in_film>.
"2008 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_in_film>.
"2009 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_in_film>.
Works Cited Continued

"2010 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_in_film>
"2011 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_in_film>.
"2012 in Film." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_in_film>.
Bechdel Test. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://bechdeltest.com/>.
"Bechdel Test." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 June 2013. Web. 26 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test>.
Shaw, Susan M., and Janet Lee. Women's Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. Print.

Complete list of films
Million Dollar Baby
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Hotel Rwanda
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
The Constant Gardener
Match Point
A History of Violence
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen
Little Children
No Country for Old Men
Michael Clayton
There Will Be Blood
American Gangster
Eastern Promises
The Great Debaters
Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
The Hurt Locker
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
The Artist
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse
The Descendants
The Ides of March
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Lee & Shaw 134
Full transcript