Sunday, February 12, 2012

"I can do anything you can do, better. I can do anything, better than you?"

Based of the article by Bielby & Bielby’s Women and Men in Film 

What struck me the most about this article was the belief that female actors can’t carry a big budget film and that women are better suited for writing ‘women’s films.’ I would of course argue that while this might be true, it certainly is not because of a lack of skill from females, but rather an institutionalized belief, or ideology, that genres in particular have to be gendered. It didn’t surprise me much that female writers aren’t expected to write action or thriller films, or that when a female presents those sorts of projects to a production company, they often aren’t thought of in big budgets or blockbusters; they are given less money because it’s believed that they won’t make as much money. I liked the point about the difference between the way television structure and film structure changes the ways in which female writers can move up, or even get hired in the two industries. In television, it’s much easier (relatively speaking) to move up to a position of large creative control. This would allow for more females to be hired by females and for a female writer’s career more longevity because television series last longer than one film. Conversely, television industry makes it easier to justify the typecasting of females because television success is measured by the kinds of people that watch, not just the amount (like in film) making it easier to justify why women might be better suited for things like day time programming and children’s programming.

An interesting comparison that immediately popped into my head while reading this article is the movie Bridesmaids written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and starring five lead females. This movie, directed by Paul Fieg and produced by Judd Apatow, has been gaining a lot of attention from awards season and is currently nominated for best original screenplay and best supporting actress at the Academy Awards. I’ve heard, more than once, that this film finally proves that women can be funny and that an R rated comedy aimed at women can be successful. I think in a lot ways this is true. This film is raunchy and sexualized and down right funny (check out the bloopers here), and in the hands of Judd Apatow, known for his success with Superbad and Knocked Up, it’s interesting that a dominate male director in the comedy genre would take on a female dominated film.

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