Actor Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, wrote a compelling guest post for The Hollywood Reporter.
The guest post includes very interesting statistics on the dismal number of women characters in films and TV. And Ms. Davis has an easy answer for screenwriters to help correct this issue:
Step 1: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?
Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.
While I wholeheartedly endorse these recommendations, it was the last part of Geena Davis’ guest post, when she talked about using fictional portrayal to change the real world, that was so compelling for me.
I have often written about the importance of fictional portrayal — and I’ll admit I cried when I got to Ms. Davis’ final words: “Here’s what I always say: If they can see it, they can be it.”
(Don’t get me started on my years-long disgust with Lego ads that only show boys building the complicated Lego sets. Or the pink sets that Lego created for girls.)
I’ve put the link to Ms. Davis’ entire article at the end of this blog post. But first a few words in response to the guest post mention of Ms. Davis wishing to be considered for movies with a female lead as well as for unusual female roles.
I have two such screenplays for you, Ms. Davis, and you can first read both as stories (adapted from the screenplays) on Amazon to see if you like the roles:
Screwball romantic comedy HOT POTATO‘s lead female is a field sales support engineer (weapons expert) in Eastern Europe — click on http://amzn.to/16gMBaS for HOT POTATO on Amazon.
Spy thriller CIA FALL GUY‘s lead female is a marketing consultant who takes matters into her own hands — click on http://amzn.to/Sp29TC for CIA FALL GUY on Amazon.
Check out Ms. Davis’ organization at seejane.org
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY.