2015 Report Card Of Women In Movies Shows A Great Year For Women, But A Bad Year For Diversity
Hollywood is undergoing a change. Not only is the face of television changing, but we're also beginning to see a shift in the film industry as well. While the conversation is beginning to open up in regards to how women are represented in society, that conversation is also crossing over to the movie market. Even better, ever-so-subtle shifts are being made. So, how did the inclusion of realistic female characters in 2015 movies fair? Better than you might have thought, but we're still not quite there yet. As with all change, it takes time to occur.
As society shifts its original views, we'll see a change in the writers, directors, and producers that make up Hollywood. As more opportunities open up for the creators of the industry, we'll see more opportunities open up for the actresses trying to play strong, realistic characters. However, there's simply no denying that the representation of all women in Hollywood is not where it could be at this very moment. If women were always represented equally in Hollywood, then things like the Bechdel Test just simply wouldn't need to exist anymore, as opposed to being a simple litmus test that many films continue to fail. Are we almost done with measuring equality in film? We're on our way, and 2015 proved that.
Here's how 2015 proved to be changing the game with it's representation of women in film.
1. Female-Led Comedies: A+
If there's one thing that 2015 did right, it was the rise in female-led comedies. From Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, to Pitch Perfect 2, to Melissa McCarthy's Spy, to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's girl buddy-styled film Sisters, women were not afraid to be funny. 2015 was the year of breaking down that stereotype that women aren't funny, and with an all-female Ghostbusters coming in 2015, I'm so excited to see what's next!
2. Kick-Ass Women: A+
Who needs a man taking charge when 2015 had its women? Note-worthy lead roles include Charlize Theron's role in Mad Max: Fury Road, the brand-new lead-character Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Katniss in Mockingjay: Part 2. However, other kick-ass women that made appearances were Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight, Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man, and Alicia Vikander in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The funny fact about these kick-ass women of 2015? Well, it just so happens that some of the highest grossing films of the year starred women. So, hopefully, that helps bring more women to the forefront moving forward. And, next time, can more of them exist without a love interest, please?
3. Women Of Color: F
If there's one category that really was lacking this year, it has to be the women of color in film category. Women of color seem to have faired much better in regards to television, but, when it comes to film, it's hard to even find where the roles were this past year. Patina Miller's super-supporting role in Mockingjay: Part 2 was nothing less than inspiring. I also loved Lupita Nyongo's performance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens; however, she was an alien and didn't necessarily look like herself. Otherwise, women of color in film included Tessa Thompson in Creed and really not much else. Another major failure for this category? Emma Stone was cast as a half-Asian character in the film Aloha . So, sadly, it was not the greatest year for women of color.
4. Women Without Love Interests: C
Personally, I prefer watching female characters without love interests. However, it always tends to get thrown into the mix somewhere. Whether it's the focal point of the story or the guy is just continuously flirting with the girl throughout, it's actually pretty obnoxious once you pay attention to it. That random kiss always added in at the end always makes me think: "Was that necessary?" Well, unfortunately, 2015 had more of that then I would've liked. Aside from Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara's roles in The Martian and Disney's animated film Inside Out, there has seemed to be a male love connection to every female... or at least one is implied at the end if it didn't already exist throughout the whole movie.
5. Women In Higher Positions Than Men: A+
This category is one I'm really excited about. From Anne Hathaway being the boss in The Intern, to Jessica Chastain in The Martian, to Jennifer Lawrence in Joy, to Tilda Swinton in Trainwreck, women holding leadership positions is no longer a thing of the past. And can we also just talk about how Bryce Dallas Howard ran all of Jurassic World and survived in heels? We're seeing the reality of our changing world right in front of our eyes when it comes to women in the workforce. However, the dinosaurs part is not real... Sorry!
6. Passing The Bechdel Test: A
Just in case you're not totally familiar with this concept, the Bechdel Test is a way in which we can measure how well women are actually represented in films. Basically, the test checks to see if there are two or more women in the film, if those women talk to each other, and if they can actually hold a conversation about something other than a man (Shocking, right?). Well, believe-it-or-not, lots of films actually don't pass this test. In 2015 these films did pass the test: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Brooklyn, Cinderella, Crimson Peak, Pitch Perfect 2, and even Fifty Shades of Grey! However, numerous movies still didn't pass the test, including movies such as Chappie, Concussion, and even Goosebumps! Despite that, there's no denying that we're on our way.
7. LBGT Women: B
Another category that faired pretty well for women this year is the LGBT category. With buzz-worthy films such as Carol, Grandma, Tangerine, and The Danish Girl shedding light on non-heterosexual or cisgender relationships — and even how they're frowned upon in society — the LGBT community is getting more recognition. However, with Eddie Redmayne being cast as a transgender woman, and the lack of realistic supporting lesbian characters within a film's overall cast, there is still a balance missing. But 2015 means we're definitely on our way.
Images: Lucasfilms; Apatow Productions; Village Roadshow Pictures; Lionsgate; Twentieth Century Fox; Waverly Films; Universal Pictures; Number 9 Films; Tina Gong/Bustle