September 23, 2011
Lacking Leading Ladies
It’s an unfortunate Hollywood trend: few women in leading roles on the big screen. Of the top 100 grossing films in recent years, less than 33 percent of speaking roles went to females. Rarely do we see women playing characters outside of the “blathering bimbo,” the “sexy sidekick” or the “crazy ex-girlfriend.”
"I feel the industry looks at women as a subset of the audience instead of the 50 percent that they make up," Kacy Andrews, CEO of Bigfoot Entertainment, tells PINK. "The state of the industry as a whole is a bit of a mess.”
Andrews says the lack of strong female characters is due to the influx of superhero movies (with little room for women in principal roles) and the corporate mentality in studios today. “The people green-lighting films aren't filmmakers – they're MBA execs and accountants. If they think something will make money, it gets made.”
What can be done? "Getting more women into media corporation boardrooms would be a start,” says Andrews. “As women, we need to show studios that films about women can bring in dollars.” With the recent success of female-driven movies like Bridesmaids and The Help, Andrews hopes this formula can become more prominent.
Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga has been known to burn scripts she receives with watered-down female characters. She directed and starred in Higher Ground, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Women and Hollywood blog founder Melissa Silverstein teamed up with Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies to host the first Athena Film Festival, with movies portraying “a celebration of women and leadership.”
Bonus PINK Link: Women are lacking behind the screen as well. Here’s why.
By Keon Jamaal Steele
"Your playing small does not serve the world." Marianne Williamson
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Salvatore Vuono