If you ever needed to run from a Titanic-sized Tyrannosaurus rex, you probably wouldn’t do that in Louboutins. This part, we can all agree on.
But it seems like many Western film directors have a whole different view of what women should be like onscreen. Teens with clear skin? Check. Women always wanting a baby? Yep. Putting freakin' lotion on before going to bed? Done. But life isn't a 2-hour-long reverie in motion and things are very different here.
No wonder people are getting seriously fed up with how unrealistically, and often just plain wrong, many popular movies portray female characters. Let’s take a look at some of the worst faux pas against women in film and hope this will be a wake-up call to whoever believed this nonsense.
"In films that take place in a post-apocalyptic setting, women somehow still have shaven armpits/legs, perfectly plucked eyebrows, clear skin and sometimes still wear make up! Even if they had the time/supplies to shave/apply makeup, I'm pretty sure they won't care about all that if they're fearing for their lives."
Live in huge, beautiful apartments when they work as underpaid journalists or small-shop owners.
"Biggest cliché is that the vast majority of women sleep in their underwear and a tiny little top. Reality is we sleep in oversized T-shirts and that pair of leggings that have one too many rips/food stains on to wear in public."
To find out more about why women’s representation onscreen is often so flawed and unrealistic, Bored Panda talked to MaryAnn Johanson, a pioneering online film critic at FlickFilosopher.com and the author of “Where Are the Women?”—a project which broke down the ways in which women are dismissed on screen.
MaryAnn explained that unfortunately, “women are so often portrayed as nothing more than support and encouragement for men as they undertake journeys of growth and discovery.” Moreover, women are also “often depicted as 'perfect' and in no need of growth and discovery themselves.”
Such representation of female characters on screen is truly harmful and gives a “terrible example” to show both boys and girls, men and women.
"How 'fat' women, aren't fat. Bridget Jones? Not fat. Natalie from Love Actually? Not fat."
"25-year-old actresses are cast as high schoolers, while 35-year-old actresses are cast as mothers of high schoolers."
I hate when the "ugly" person gets a 15-minute makeover and is suddenly the best looking person in the film. As a genuinely hideous person it makes me furious because there's probably someone out there who legit thinks that if I just got a makeover my face suddenly wouldn't look like a bouquet of elbows.
According to the film critic, the second-worst thing about how women are diminished onscreen has to do with showing them as types. “So many movies have gangs of men doing whatever they're doing: The Leader, The Bad Boy, The Nerd, etc. And then there’s The Woman,” MaryAnn explained.
Representing women as a type gives viewers the wrong impression that female characters “don’t come in the same full range of human interests and talents as men do.”
MaryAnn said that she doesn’t really know the answer to just why so many male filmmakers choose this kind of female portrayal.
She wondered whether it may be “because male filmmakers are projecting their own fears about themselves onto female characters.” Or, “because male filmmakers are afraid of acknowledging that women come in the same full range of humanity—strong and weak, emotional and stoic, messed-up and got-it-together, and so on—as men do?” It may as well be because “male filmmakers don’t know any real women?”
"Friends existing to talk about your guy troubles with. Sure, my girlfriends and I talk about guys, but we also talk about philosophy and what we’re reading and things we’ve discovered about ourselves lately and our latest workout routine and whether God exists and our cats and Harry Potter...for women in our thirties there’s a lot of Harry Potter."
"Women in movies are always 'cool' because they’re “not like other girls.” This is established by showing them eating chicken wings, enjoying sports, or playing video games. They do all these things in full faces of makeup wearing designer clothes."
The geeky girls in high school movies who are supposed to be ugly are still really good looking.
MaryAnn explained that until the entirety of the filmmaking industry, from writers and directors to studio executives and festival programmers, is much more gender-balanced, nothing will change. “Storytellers tell stories that are important to them. We need more different kinds of people telling stories, stories that get seen and heard, than we have now.”
The film critic believes that the worst part of such flawed female representation is that it generally tells the audience that women don’t matter that much. “Movies matter. Pop culture matters. The stories we tell each other matter. Children are listening, and they hear what we are saying.”
MaryAnn warned that these “kids become adults with warped ideas about the wide variety of women’s actual experiences—which are so much wider than what we see onscreen—and what women want out of life, which is so much more than what we see onscreen.” She concluded that this is totally unacceptable, and that “the culture that has so far not accorded women the same full humanity it accords men has to change.”
"Start having an orgasm two seconds into sex. No foreplay needed, apparently don’t need to discuss if they needed a condom/if she’s on the pill, has perfectly matching underwear on for the occasion which is so nice she feels the need to keep the bra on and OF COURSE doesn’t need to pee afterwards. They just snuggle and fall asleep in each other’s arms without any need to clean up or worry about UTIs. Soooo realistic!"
All women wanting babies, and those who say they don't end up changing their minds and having them anyway
"Every time they show a woman taking a shower by herself, she's always caressing her hair/body in a way no normal human being would when simply taking a shower. Also, she's usually clearly wearing eye liner and false lashes, at the very least...in the damn shower."
"Working out without putting their hair up - the worst offender is She’s the Man, that final scene where Amanda Bynes plays the whole second half with her hair just whipping in her face drive me nuts. Someone would have given that girl a hair tie."
"For the love of god, put in a teenager with acne or braces or something into a film set in a high school. Teenagers are always depicted with, clear skin and fully developed. NOBODY looked like that in high school!"
"The way women have to always dress ‘feminine’ even in disaster situations! Like Jurassic World – they have their main female character running away from DINOSAURS in high heels...freaking t-rexs and velociraptors and running through the jungle...but no let’s make sure she stays in her skirt and heels (and her makeup will be messy but still pretty), so stupid."
"20-year-old actresses are cast as surgeons, astrophysicists, history professors, etc. Unless they were baby geniuses, there is no way someone that young would have risen so high in her profession (especially considering that, because of prejudice and discrimination, it often takes women longer to climb the ladder.)"
Women before the 1930's who shave their legs and armpits.
Any time that women vomit in movies, it's an indication of pregnancy.
85 pound women in badass jobs like assassins or secret agents or super heroes. You need more muscle for these big fights you win.
"I really hate how women always seem to be really skinny (and it’s not the women’s fault at all, I don’t want to shame them for being skinny) but I would like to see a woman who wasn’t necessarily plus-size (though we need more leads who are) but weighs 160 pounds rather than 120."
Shop or get a manicure as a way to resolve their problems.
"What REALLY pisses me off is women always having perfect makeup and hair in catastrophe movies. For example, in Bird Box, the world has 'ended' four years ago and Malorie still has perfect eyelash extensions. How???"
Women running at almost top speed in high heels while in the real world, I can barely walk in them after a couple hours.
"I’m sure some women definitely do this, but going to sleep with their hair down and then waking up with it still in perfect condition and an amazing sheen. I have to sleep with my hair up to be comfortable and I still wake up looking like Edward Scissorhands."
"It's both super fast and super terrifying. Nobody is ever counting contractions, trying countless positions to ease the pain, doing breathing exercises etc. The woman always loses her shit from labour pain and gives up her birth plan altogether and dramatically begs for epidural, only to be told it's too late, and it's time to give birth, even though it's only been like half an hour. On that note, movies never depict the actual size of late pregnancy, even when said woman is in delivery. Everybody looks six months pregnant max."
"I can't even with giggly fashion montages and women acting like shopping will heal all mental wounds in the span of time it takes to max out a credit card. First of all, if I maxed out a credit card, I'd flip out and beg the store to take my purchase back, not giggle at how silly I am to spend so much money. Second, I doubt a freelance article writer in NYC can afford to twirl around in dresses all day and spend $2000 in an afternoon."
Lounge around the house wearing super-cute clothes or lingerie.
"That working moms are shown as being overworked, overwhelmed, and never having time for their families, and they always feel guilty leaving their kids at daycare or with a babysitter. First of all, the father is rarely depicted as feeling guilty for being away from his kids. Secondly, most working moms I know have a good work-life balance and feel fulfilled and happy with their careers."
Note: this post originally had 36 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.