(Finally) Females & Film

Being a young actress that loves to watch films, it is disheartening to see that women are STILL not given the same opportunities as men. I decided to do research on the roles females play in the film industry. Females are in a better position than they were  previously but there is still a long way to go. The film industry remains a male dominated field but female’s roles are growing within it. There is still a gender bias but females are making more of an appearance in front and behind the camera. The American film industry in the past twenty years has reflected the American dream ideal of strong, independent women by creating stronger female characters, giving more jobs to women, and allowing more opportunities for women, not given before.

Proof & articles to check out

  • Female directors are making more of an appearance. “In indie arenas like the Sundance Film Festival, female directors have inched closer to gender parity, and in 2013, half the movies in the American dramatic competition were directed by women” (Dargis). At the end of 2014 “the six major studios (not including their art-house divisions) will have released three movies directed by women” (Dargis). This article gives valid statistics of how female directors are doing in the film industry and mentions “Warner Bros. hired Michelle MacLaren for its Wonder Woman movie, it became the first studio to tap a female director for a major superhero project” (Dargis). The article brings up important points that females tend to make more movies about women than men do and that females make up a small percentage of protagonists and speaking characters. The article explores the progress and also the negativity that surrounds women in the business. T
  • The New York film academy put up an article showing the statistics surrounding women in the top 500 films from 2007-2012. The article highlights influential women that are behind and in front of the camera. Some important statistics: 5:1 ratios of men to women working in film, 38% of women were employed working behind the scenes in 2012 (that is 15% more than 2011), and In 2011 the first female director won an Oscar and that was Kathryn Bigelow.
  • Kramer vs. Kramer is a significant movie in the film industry because of its portrayal of the American Dream, gender roles, and portrayal of the family dynamic. McMullen brings up that women have yet to achieve their American dream. This movie was a turning point in the film industry for feminism and the American dream for women. It depicts a woman who walks out on her husband and son, which is unheard of. It reminds me of Nora when she walked out in A Dolls House. It also goes into detail about what was going on in the world with feminism and the American dream. It gives a view that at this point women were not achieving the American dream in film and in reality. This article uses Kramer vs. Kramer as its only example it revolves more around the negativity of women not achieving the American Dream rather than achieving it.
  • This article by Maria-Paz Peirano backs up the idea that Independent films go to places that Hollywood big budget films do not. “Indie films can thus be considered to be oppositional forms that ‘talk back’ to Hollywood, subverting those representations by ‘doing everything that Hollywood generally will not do’. Thus they prompt movie audiences to think about the harsh realities in contemporary life” (Peirano). It talks about social issues portrayed in independent films, the culture and politics surrounding women in the industry, and middle class American family. I can use this for my research because it gives an insight into independent films and how they portray more of the harsh realities. It also goes into how women in the film industry are perceived.
  • Places in the Heart serves as an example of a film that endorses new strong roles for women and hope for achieving the American Dream. The film is about how “a spunky housewife resourcefully copes with economic reverses to save her farm and keep her family together; she becomes a competitor in the capitalistic system, acting as any man would be expected to” (McMulllen and Solomon). This article discusses the issues of feminism, capitalism, and the American dream. It is a solid example of a film that incorporates women in film achieving the American dream because of the opportunity of being able to play a strong female character doing a mans job. The article talks more about analyzing Places in the Heart and what critics think of it rather than feminism and the American Dream. It does not go into much detail about how and why it endorses new strong roles for women.
  • Chick flicks were seen as away for females to get more screen time and get more of an opportunity to work behind the scenes. Now they competing with big budget male driven films, “are no longer promoted as standalone texts solely marketed to women consumers. Rather, they are advertised in a manner similar to Jaws (1975), Independence Day (1996), and Titanic (1997) and often compete with and eclipse male-driven, big-budget vehicles in their total earnings” (York). This article shows that women have had to make things happen for themselves in the film industry by making and starring in chick flicks/ female dominated movies. The article explores the history of chick flicks and how it has taken time for them to compete with the male-dominated films that have encompassed the industry.
  • Another way women are able to make their American Dream occur in the film industry is through this organization called Women Make Movies. The article has an interview with Debra Zimmerman, the organizations director. The interview with her gives me an insight into being a director of such an inspirational organization that has made a difference for women working behind the scenes. This organization facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films by and about women. It talks about the history of this organization. The American dream doesn’t just apply to the fictional characters in the films; it applies to the real life women living it.


We need more than this. We deserve equality. I hope that someday we get the treatment we deserve. Women in film should be equal to men in film.




Dargis, Manohla. “In Hollywood, It’s a Men’s, Men’s, Men’s World.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

McMullen, Wayne J. “Gender And The American Dream In Kramer Vs. Kramer.” Women’s Studies In Communication 19.1 (1996): 29-54. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Peirano, María-Paz. “Not Hollywood: Independent Film At The Twilight Of The American Dream.” Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute 20.2 (2014): 371-372. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Solomon, Martha, and Wayne J. McMullen. “Places In The Heart: The Rhetorical Force Of An Open Text.” Western Journal Of Speech Communication: WJSC 55.4 (1991): 339-353. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

York, Ashley Elaine. To Millennial Blockbusters: Spinning Female-Driven Narratives Into Franchises.” Journal Of Popular Culture 43.1 (2010): 3-25. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Zimmerman, Debra, and Patricia White. “Looking Back And Forward: A Conversation About Women Make Movies.” Camera Obscura 28.82 (2013): 146-155. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Zurko, Nicholas. “Gender Inequality in Film – An Infographic.” New York Film Academy Blog. N.p., 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.


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