Cinema has a remarkable impact on the perception of its audiences. Many a time, we mimic our favourite characters on screen. This is the reason why cinema can be a powerful tool to spread good in the society, and benefit everyone alike. However, the stems of gender discrimination have crept deep into cinema too. A new study named “Rewrite Her Story” says that female leaders in major movies are more likely to be objectified, thus preserving stereotypes for women and girls.

Important Takeaways:

  • It has been found that women occupying leadership positions in movies are more likely to be depicted as sexual objects or with nudity, as compared with their male counterparts.
  • The study is collaboration between British-based humanitarian organization Plan International and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, founded by the actor Geena Davis.
  • The study used a technology called Geena Davis inclusion quotient, which uses a facial and voice detection software to analyse female representation in movies and TV shows.
  • The tool analysed 56 highest-grossing movies released in 2018 in 20 countries, including the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, Germany, Peru, and Senegal.
  • Female leaders were more than four times as likely “to be shown wearing revealing clothing”.
  • The women in the 56 films were also almost twice more likely “to be shown as partially nude” than men. While 15 percent of women were shown to be partially nude, only eight percent of men were shown to be so.

Celebrate Women Leaders Instead Of Objectifying Them On Screen

The study recommends hiring female filmmakers and celebrating their work, for making female leadership visible and normal. “These films show a world which is run by men, for men,” the researchers wrote, pointing out that “the filmmakers, too, are predominantly male.” In fact, among the films that the researchers analysed, not even a single movie was directed by a female. Also, only a quarter of them had at least one female producer, and only one in 10 of them was written by at least one woman.

“Our most popular films are sending the message that leadership is primarily a male domain,” the researchers wrote. “Women leaders are subject to the male gaze and not really ‘in charge.’”

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“Our most popular films are sending the message that leadership is primarily a male domain,” the researchers wrote. “Women leaders are subject to the male gaze and not really ‘in charge.’”

Today, the roles for women are widening, but their sexual objectification results in the converse of what they are meant for. It is the need of the hour to portray women in a positive light, the thing requisite for eradication of stereotypes. One of the upcoming roles of a female 007 in the next James Bond film is being hailed by many. “A woman 007 or superhero in the film is welcome. But our research shows they are exceptions and not the rule,” Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, chief executive of Plan International told Reuters. “The bigger picture is that gender discrimination and harmful stereotypes still dominate on the screen … We need to stop the sexualisation and the objectification of women and girls on-screen and everywhere else.” she added.

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