Where are the women?

So its Saturday night, and being the party animal that I am I sat down with my laptop to download a movie in iTunes. Hey seeing as its the weekend I may even splash out on a recent release. For my purchasing convenience iTunes displays at the top of the screen a slideshow of current recent releases, a sort of best of recent releases if you will. Anyway tonight as I scrolled through my options a nagging questions popped into my head…where…are…all…the…women? As I looked at the promotional images displayed I realised that out of the twelve slideshow images the only two female images displayed in place of prominence were: cartoon Disney princesses and a little girl.

So there are twelve promotional images in total, five of these have women in them but out these five, three contain only small subsidiary images of women, quite often with parts of the face cut off and/or partially hidden by the “more important” male characters. The other two are, as I mentioned the little girl and the Disney princesses. Now I really think this is completely unfair and, as a credit card bearing dedicated online purchaser, it also strikes me as bad business. It is disappointingly unsurprising, but nonetheless I feel strongly we need to draw attention to it.

Let me reveal the proof, here are my options this evening:




And for the ladeeeezzzz……


I know its pretty common knowledge that there just aren’t enough strong female characters in contemporary movies to the extent that veteran actors such as Jodie Foster resort to gender flipping characters in scripts such as her most recent role in Elysium (see Holly Derr’s Ms. Blog post). Nontheless this struck me tonight as a very visible and graphical representation of this gender imbalance. I just want to watch a movie with a strong female character, a grown up real one not an animated princess or a little girl. I’m willing to pay, and I’ll even pay above the odds, because I am an adult woman (with a job and my own money and everything) and I like stories that speak to me. Also here’s a note for the content creators, content for women is not the same as content for kids. Sigh…its enough to turn you into a independent film maker…

Jeneen Naji is a digital media lecturer in the Centre for Media Studies, NUIM

3 thoughts on “Where are the women?

  1. You bring up a good point here. When the original TV show premiered in 1966 it was progressive – there were women and minorities on the Enterprise bridge (in the original pilot the future Nurse Chapel was actually first officer, but the network freaked). JJ Abrams created a good action flick, but he abandoned Gene Roddenberry’s progressive vision of the future. I’d like to think that Roddenberry would have wanted a 21st century reboot to continue to break barriers…

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