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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

curated: “where are the women?” is a problem in books, too

This could just as easily have been written about movies.


posted in:
where are the women
  • Stacy Livitsanis

    This was a particularly devastating observation:

    “I think the problem is that some writers (and some readers) have spent a
    lot of time internalizing our societal narrative that women… just
    aren’t interesting. The things we do and have done don’t make good
    stories, or if they do, those stories are women’s stories, and not for general consumption.”

    And yet all one need do is read your list of “more men I am officially tired of being asked to sympathize with in movies” to see how many impossibly dull stories about men are being made all the time, with an assumption that they’re for general consumption.

    Of all the films I saw in 2016, I managed to see a 50/50 split of movies with male leads and movies with female leads, but that was only because I deliberately sought out more movies about (and directed by) women. Initially I felt pretty pleased with myself, but, trying to stop breaking my arm while patting myself on the back, I realised that this kind of parity should be standard, and not even be something worth noticing.

  • The things we do and have done don’t make good
    stories, or if they do, those stories are women’s stories, and not for general consumption

    Yeah, this ties into the idea that women are only ever doing or thinking housework, child care, etc. Which of course isn’t true, but even if it *were* true, or even if all stories about women were only about that those things, it’s still horrendous and infuriating that “women’s work” is considered not of universal concern. Men benefit and have historically benefitted from the fact that they have personal assistants dealing with their upkeep, and humanity benefits and has benefitted from all the unpaid labor that is done by mostly women to perpetuate the species in all aspects, from having babies to ensuring that everyone is fed and doesn’t get eaten by leopards as toddlers. Even the most stereotypical of stories about “women’s work” are more fundamentally about human reality than those about “men’s work.” No one can be a great artist or a take a country to war if they fucking died as babies, or were never born.

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