Women only said 27% of the words in 2016’s biggest movies.
Amber Thomas
1.2K84

This seems a bit disingenuous. Not the data analysis which I appreciate and find interesting but the judgements and indictments you make from it. As others have said there are quite a few other data points you leave out by focusing on only the top grossing films of 2016. I fully acknowledge how much more difficult it would have been but by that very same token I believe it is not entirely honest to boldly make such judgements as “Not gender equal” from a very narrow data set that is probably skewed in such a way as to produce the result you wanted from the start.

In taking on this analysis it should have been obvious that some of the realities of the stories that make for top grossing movies such as war, action adventure, comic heroes, spy thrillers or space adventures will naturally skew towards a more male cast and consequently a male heavy dialogue. Men are more likely to be generals, admirals or captains of fleets, soldiers, devious scientists, evil lords etc. I don’t think there is harm in movies reflecting this realities as we work to change or alter those realities in themselves. As a counter thought, a king is likely to have the shortest dialogue in a palace as his courtiers, advisers spend the more time arguing and talking while he/she only gives final yeses or nos. None of this changes the fact that the king is the most powerful person in the room. So as far as symbolisms go, less talk time doesn’t automatically mean less power or overall impact.

It should be said that articles like this inadvertently do more harm that good. It seems to send the message that unless your movie or work features in the highest grossing movies of the year, it doesn’t matter. Countless woman are making movies they love with as much female dialogue as they want, that show up at major festivals and win awards. But it seems that to make your point about a tiny subset of the work that is put out each year, you must also say to all those other women, your work doesn’t matter until it hits the box office. I’m hoping that’s not what you are saying.

Finally, who will do this work of ensuring gender equality in film dialogue. Should audiences who are already tired of 2 hour long movies be subjected to even more unnecessary time at the cinema listening to more inane dialogue so that women get 50:50 talk time. The woman positioned as pivotal in the star war story takes up more space in all poster and graphic material and publicity for this movie. In your righteous pursuit of gender equality, I don’t see you complaining about there not be an equally well positioned man next to her in the poster. As you shouldn’t …because it’s ridiculous. And in my opinion it’s just as ridiculous to make much out of the movie dialogue.

Again it’s not the analysis in itself that bothers me but your insistence on making some social justice judgements based on what even you agree doesn’t represent the whole picture.

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