Imagine you had to put together a time capsule that represented today’s world.

Gender and Film

By Luke Huffman








Imagine you had to put together a time capsule that represented today’s world.

What movies would you chose?

What do your choices say about your view of sex and gender?








Gender in the Movies

Film has the power to communicate gender roles

It does through blatant messaging on the roles women and men play in society and how we communicate in relationships

There can also be subtle messaging on gender roles, that is repeatedly is more likely to sink in on some level and affect us, especially on children








Gender and film behind the screen

Of top 100 grossing films of 2019, women represented:

10.7% of directors

19.4% of writers

24.3% of producers

70% of editors

Top 250 grossing film, 6% of composers were women

Only one woman has won the Academy Award for best director (Kathryn Bigelow) and only five have ever been nominated (Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Bigelow, and Greta Gerwig)

43 of the top 100 grossing films had females as the lead or co-lead








An actor with a reputation for being difficult dresses in drag in order to get work on a soap opera. When he lands the part, he has to keep up the act and struggles with his feelings for his female co-star

When Michael eventually reveals himself, the viewers had become so attached to Dorothy, his female persona, that they were going to miss her, not Michael

The film also fulfilled fantasy of walking in the other sex’s shoes – seeing how they were treated and greeted, and to know someone without accompany romantic feelings at first







Tootsie contd.

The film somewhat illustrates the theme of gender-bending, with how Michael comes to grips with his masculinity and femininity

Book’s use of gender bending is not limited to drag but a way of thinking about gender








Thelma & Louise

Groundbreaking gender-bending film about two friends that embark on road trip that ends in unforeseen circumstances

Audiences felt complex emotions with many aspects of the movie, with some feeling odd applauding revenge

The female leads being shown in dominant images and radical behaviors, while male characters were portrayed in an atypical fashion

Some thought it was a way of male bashing, thinking women were winning a war against male oppression and retaliating against unacceptable male behavior







Thelma and Louise contd.

This is a gender-bent message taken to the extreme

Scholars felt that the film commented on relationships in the 90s, with depicting women’s desperation, and women who counter powerlessness with extreme actions but are still powerless in a patriarchal system







Gender Bending or Society Shifting?

In today’s cinema, film roles for men, women, and non-binary people of varying identities, orientations, ages, ethnicities, and abilities have never been more diverse with more diverse roles to come

There are still a lot of work to be done for proper representation in gender, as well as other demographics

What, if any, film roles have changed your perception of gender? Was this a portrayal of gender bending or just a societal shift? Are these gender bent roles or reflections of our expanding view of what’s acceptable behavior for men and women?







Non-Binary/Genderfluid on Film

Well-Known people in the industry that identify as non-binary, genderfluid, or other gender identities: Cara Delevingne, Indya Moore, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Lachlan Watson, Jill Soloway, Amandla Stenberg, Ezra Miller

Television in recent years has done a better job of representing those who identify outside of male and female gender binary, while film has lacked for any characters that identify non-binary

Number characters are rising but are often side characters, given little screen time, or are in throw away scenes compared to male and female characters

Trans, Non-binary, or genderfluid characters are also often protrayed by binary gendered actors i.e. The Danish Girl








The way film has depicted and represented genders, especially women and non-binary characters, has improved but still lacks behind in true proper representation

As with people working behind the camera, there has also been a rise but is still significantly small compared to male counterparts

The film industry has never been more diverse but there are still a significant amount of work to be done in order to reach proper representation


























GenderSpeak: Communicating in a Gendered World by Diana K. Ivy

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