By: Zackery Silvas
Underappreciated. That’s the word I would use to describe actresses in TV, movies, and theater. In a world where the media heavily favors men, women are almost an afterthought. Women are not cast as often as men are (a study from 2015 says that only 12 percent of protagonists in films were women) and it is frustrating to see the talent being wasted. However, as of this year and last year, there has been a steady rise of female leads in major movies and director roles. This is a step in the right direction that allows women to have an equal chance in media. Even with the increase of female roles, the industry can be treacherous for women. With the #MeToo movement surfacing recently, it is becoming clear that women are not treated fairly in the industry. Highlighting what the industry is really like for women is important, because it brings attention to an issue that is in desperate need of change.
The #MeToo movement has been in the news for the past couple months and has begun to expose what it is like for a woman in the TV and movie industry. It all started after many high-profile actresses came out with stories of sexual abuse from producer Harvey Weinstein. Many actresses had been holding back because of fear of losing roles in movies or being blacklisted from Hollywood. This caused a ripple in the industry, and many other actresses shared similar stories of experiences with directors and fellow actors. These actresses gave a voice to all women who have been sexually abused or harassed, and sparked the #MeToo movement across the world. This movement gives women empowerment to stand up to their abusers and know that they are being supported by millions of other people that know what they have been through. The #MeToo movement has given a lot of actresses a voice and has freed women in Hollywood from their silence.
Even though the #MeToo movement has helped expose these injustices, it cannot fix them so easily. Hollywood is still sexist, giving men bigger and better roles, with higher pay, and casting women as characters whose main purpose is simply sex appeal. The Bechdel /test reveals the truth of women’s roles in film. Even though it has has been criticized, the Bechdel Test attempts to prove that the purpose of woman characters in film is to support the male character. The rules of the test are: 1) the movie has to have at least two women in it, 2) two women must have a conversation, and 3) that conversation must consist of a topic other than a man. This test is very critical and specific, but it highlights how few movies have important female roles. Movies like “Wonder Woman” and directors like Ava Duvernay are making phenomenal progress for women in the movie industry. However, there is still much more work to be done.The #MeToo movement is an important beginning of giving a voice to women in a discriminatory industry, but it is only the beginning.