Hollywood needs more real women

The Weinsteins of this world need to take this research seriously

Share

In 2007, Jeff Robinov, then president of production at Warner Bros, said that his studio would no longer make movies with female leads. This from the studio that used to love women so much that they dressed Bugs Bunny up as a girl. The theory behind Jeff’s decision was that moviegoers prefer their films with big manly men at the helm. At least this is now being challenged by new research proving that films featuring “meaningful interaction between female leads” have a better return on investment.

The data is based on films that pass the Bechtel test, namely, films that feature at least two women who have a conversation with each other about something other than a man. Many of these movies are very encouraging in their portrayal of real, complex female characters and their interactions – August: Osage County being a prime example. Even Disney is getting in on the act. Boringly, they do still push anorexic princess types on little girls as ideal role models, but at least their latest offering, Frozen, passes the test – and it’s been hugely popular as a result.

This cheering news is a call to action to Hollywood to write more and better roles for actresses. These films do better because they reflect real life! Real women have lives and opinions and ambitions and emotions enjoyed by men and women alike.

This won’t be a shock to you, as a real-life person, but Hollywood hasn’t quite clocked this yet. Do keep up, movie-makers. Watch a non-Bechtel-friendly film and you’d struggle to work out whether women are actually independent sentient beings with a purpose other than looking scarily skinny and beautiful.

Roles for women in film also need to reflect the fact that we do go on living past the age of 30. Even though 30 is nowhere near old, it’s the age at which roles start to dry up for actresses. Yet this is the age at which many women start to get interesting.

The Weinsteins of this world need to take this research seriously and stop putting size-zero, vacuous dollybirds in front of the camera. Let’s see real women there instead – women who have conversations, do interesting things and look as though they enjoy a sandwich or three.

Louise Scodie is a presenter on  London Live

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services & Office / Accounts Administrator

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This online retailer of electronic acces...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Protesters march with banners during an anti-austerity, anti-Conservative Party protest in May  

Budget 2015: Why do we call social security payments 'benefits'? They are a right, not a reward

Janey Stephenson
Laura Bassett signs autographs for England fans after the quarter-final victory  

Women's World Cup: Despite the England team's tweet, the Lionesses can be mothers and successful football players at the same time

Chloe Hamilton
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy