I sometimes play a little game. I count the number of women in movie posters on Netflix. Tonight I got 20/100 which works out at 1/5. That’s women alone on posters, not backed up by testosterone.
I have nothing against hormones. It’d just be nice to see some more diversity. Casting is just dull, there’s little to no imagination to it, and yes I get that you need Big Names to attract Big Finance, but really, there’s more than enough women, and non-whites to go around. And that’s before I get into the wasted opportunities like Captain Phasma in the new Star Wars trilogy which just felt like stunt casting. Gwendoline Christie has more than proved herself on Game of Thrones (among other things). She deserved a bit more meat. Hell, we all did. She got, what, four scenes in two movies? Hyped as this big bad, she got stuffed down a garbage chute in one movie then thrown into the guts of a dying ship by The Only Black Man In The Village (well, the second, there’s Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian who’s apparently in the new one).
Which leads me to tonight’s movie, Anne Hathaway in Colossal which despite the obvious, is less about giant monsters crashing around a city, and more about abuse and arrogance and trying to control women (indeed, anyone) through acts of violence. It’s a film for the #metoo era.
And for all the naysayers who go on at length about how women couldn’t possibly fight well and hard, perhaps the real problem is the variety of roles I started talking about earlier. If all young men see are strong capable men, who can take a punch or do amazing feats of daring-do, then you’ll get pissy when you see someone else taking a go. And on the flipside, if you never see anyone who looks like you in heroic roles, then you’ll feel a bit left out and aren’t encouraged to try.
And that’s not just a shame, it’s a crime that’s holding us back as a species. We’ve become inbred with white males doing all the cool stuff and everyone else sidelined, abused, pushed down and told they’re not good enough. There could be another Einstein in a refugee camp in France. Perhaps another Dickens or Shakespeare too scared to go to school because her uniform is wrecked and she hasn’t eaten in two days. Maybe there’s a great healer with the intelligence to make a breakthrough in Cancer or AIDS who’s just been shot by a white cop because he has dark skin.
All over the world we have the people who can take us to the next level, to cure our ills and move us forward.
We can do better. But only together, all of us, not just the chosen few.