Monday, July 05, 2010


There's a test to show how sexist media is:

"Does the media have a conversation between two women that is not about a man?"

This doesn't seem like a very demanding test, but it actually demands a lot of things that many TV shows and movies aren't interested in. There has to be more than one woman in a show. They have to be together in one scene.* The women have to be characters, in the sense of having their own interests, and they have to be interests outside of romance. Many shows have no interest in women as characters, the (male) writers seem to think that women can only be a source of sex, and their role is entirely one that denies or accepts that role. Sex denying women are robotic and unpleasant, sex allowing women are emotional and incapable intellectually.

Before you think that this test is unfair, (After all, what is the chance that Uhura and Nurse Chapel are going to talk about something other than another member of the crew?) just try this test the other way around. How many TV shows and movies pass this test with the very first line of dialogue, when applied to men?

I think this demonstrates pretty clearly that the people who design media think that the default "person" is a male, and when they're casting their show with "minorities", they include one woman in the central cast, and one in the secondary cast. It's pretty funny that people consider women to be a minority, after all they're treated like one, but they're actually more than 50% of the population.

*Star Wars famously has only ONE SCENE in Episodes 4,5, and 6 that has two women on the camera at the same time.

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