Maisie Williams said last year that she’d had it with the majority of female roles being “the hot piece” and now, a Hollywood producer is sharing snippets from the sexist scripts he gets sent to prove just how many supporting “girlfriend” parts are offered to talented actors.
Ross Putman started posting character descriptions of female characters using Twitter handle @femscriptintros to highlight the pervasiveness of the industry’s disturbing trend for objectifying women.
“For every confused ‘you’re’ and ‘your’, there’s just as much latent misogyny and sexism in the scripts I read,” Putman told Jezebel. “Women are first and foremost described as ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’ or my personal blow-my-brains-out-favourite, ‘stunning’.
“I found myself posting to Facebook far too often ‘here comes another script with our 45-year-old male lead dating a 25-year-old woman’ and decided I was going to keep track of the female character introductions in scripts I read for a few weeks.
“I went back and combed through past scripts too and the patterns were pretty disconcerting. I plan on posting every one that I read and there are plenty that aren’t offensive, but honestly, most of them have some element - subtle or overt - that plays into latent objectification.”
Check out just a handful of Putman’s shocking examples below, from the “blonde, fit, smokin’ hot” paramedic to the “gorgeous woman dancing naked on a big bed, as adorable as she is sexy”. Names have been changed to ‘Jane’ to emphasis the systemic one-dimensional presentation of women on screen.
All heads turn to find JANE (28) in the doorway: stunning and trying her best to hide it.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE, a 19 year old Bunny girl - honey-blonde farmland beauty queen.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
A gorgeous woman, JANE, 23, is a little tipsy, dancing naked on her big bed, as adorable as she is sexy. *BONUS PTS FOR BEING THE 1ST LINE— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE is in her mid-30s and attractive, even now with dark semi-circles underlining her closed eyes.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE (late 20s) sits hunched over a microscope. She’s attractive, but too much of a professional to care about her appearance.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE stands next to it (30's) dressed in a paramedic's uniform - blonde, fit, smokin' hot.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
His wife JANE is making dinner and watching CNN on a small TV. She was model pretty once, but living an actual life has taken its toll.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
Though drop-dead beautiful, JANE (40) has the appearance of someone whose confidence has been shaken. She is a raw, sexual force, impeded.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
The woman with strawberry blonde hair. Her eyes are chocolate brown. Her ruby red lips break into a grin. This is JANE (23).— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE, 28, athletic but sexy. A natural beauty. Most days she wears jeans, and she makes them look good.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
While the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories will be among the most closely fought at this year’s Oscars, the Best Picture nominees revealed that Hollywood is still heavily biased towards male-led movies. Carol, about a powerful lesbian love affair, was notably absent from the Academy’s film picks despite earning five-star reviews.
Bechdel Test Pass/Fails
Bechdel Test Pass/Fails
1/10 PASS: Frozen
It features two central female characters, Anna and Elsa, discussing the isolationist policies of Arendelle, plans to build a snowman, and the time Elsa locked their civilization in an eternal winter
2/10 FAIL: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Contains fewer than two named women so fails the test on first criterion.
3/10 PASS: August: Osage County
Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts head strong female cast in family saga featuring multiple conversations about the character’s relationships, which do not centre on a man
4/10 FAIL: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Kenneth Brannagh's blockbuster includes two named women (Katya, a Russian assistant, Kathy, the protagonist’s fiancée) but they do not speak to each other throughout the entire film
5/10 PASS: American Hustle
American Hustle passes but only due to a single scene where a con artist’s wife, played by Jennifer Lawrence, discusses nail polish with a politician’s wife, played by Elisabeth Röhm
6/10 FAIL: The Hangover Part 3
The wives of Doug and Stu are both named and do have a conversation but it’s about Alan, Zach Galifianakis’ character
7/10 FAIL: Noah
Russell Crowe Biblical epic scrapes in due to scene where Noah’s wife Naameh (Jennifer Connolly talks to adopted daughter Ila (Emma Watson) about her pregnancy
8/10 PASS: Blue Jasmine
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) and Ginger (Sally Hawkins) have multiple conversations about something other than a man, mostly about Jasmine herself
9/10 FAIL: Gravity
Gravity fails, despite delivering a strong female role for Sandra Bullock, since its isolated outer space setting limits her opportunities for female bonding
10/10 FAIL: The Avengers
The Avengers fails because none of its female characters talk to each other at any point
Bryce Dallas Howard was memorably expected to run away from dinosaurs wearing high heels in Jurassic World, while a recent study revealed that only a third of all speaking roles go to women. Then, of course, there’s the gender pay gap, which Patricia Arquette famously railed against in her Oscars acceptance speech last year.
Here’s hoping that amid the OscarsSoWhite controversy, the need for change is finally at the forefront of everybody’s minds.