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Krisi Tran

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What (if anything) should be done about gender inequality in media or films?

If you've been keeping up with this topic lately, you might have heard that some Swedish cinemas are instituting the Bechdel Test to measure how many women there are in talking roles, not about men, in their films. This is one example of a step taken towards equality in the movie industry, and towards recognizing the gender roles created through media, that are usually unfavorable to women. Only 18% of top movies in 2012 had a female protagonist. Women in movies rarely do anything important by themselves, and there is still the general notion that the greatest thing for a woman is marriage, and when it comes to action, the best she can be is a hardly active, supporting role. Of course, this could all go the other way, when we notice that violent masculinity is also a gender role greatly promoted for men, in addition to little films allowing males to truly express their feelings. Negative gender roles are promoted for both genders, although the lack of women is a grand statement.

On the other hand of this inequality is that films are in fact an art, and there is no reason why art should have to be constrained, and not allowed to reflect how the director sees the world. Maybe film inequality is just a reflection of the ideology of the society we live in.

What do you think? Should anything be done about the gender inequality demonstrated by film or other media? How?


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    Dec 6 2013: To answer this you have to differentiate between what is meant as fact and what is meant as fiction. Films for the most part are a reflection of the artist, and are not meant as an unequal judgement on society. Such is the argument that "The Hangover" is sexist, as it does not pass the bechdel test, however it was never meant to. You can apply the same logic to games, series, and even music. While the art, ideas, and concepts performed in these reflections can be seen as offensive to some; it can be argued that you shouldn't even be indulging yourself in media that offends you. As for the common argument that media containing 'inequality' is highly influential, it can be said that it is your responsibility as a human being to control what you are influenced by, and what your children are influenced by too. For example you wouldn't expose your child to explicit content, if you view media containing 'inequality' as that poisonous, you would simply prevent your child from being exposed to that too. In the rebuttal that "you shouldn't have to", remember that your child does not see a knight saving a princess as sexist, it is your perception that you are imprinting onto others. To take away the right of an artist to express themselves, is taking away their human right to freedom.
    • Dec 6 2013: Cultural messages that favor the masculine are pervasive. Although we can certainly choose not to take part in specific events, we cannot avoid the predominant cultural messages. We are not, actually, in control of that influence, and cannot be.
      No one is arguing that any specific artist should be denied the right of free expression. The argument is whether we, as a society and a culture, are harmed by the unequal and prejudicial treatment of the female and the feminine in popular media; and whether there is, therefor, a need to more consciously and actively change that through the encouragement of greater access and inclusion of women, and feminine perspectives, in those media.

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