A trip to the movie theater usually stresses me out, and it's not just the $12 popcorn that does it. I am notoriously that movie-goer who easily gets offended by the portrayal of women onscreen. There have been some standouts lately--films like Bridesmaids and Pariah that have made me optimistic about what can be done if female writers and directors are given a voice. But the majority of movies still disappoint. In a million-dollar blockbuster, can't they afford some clothes for the women? Can't they write some interesting dialogue that doesn't hinge upon discussions of the male characters in the film? Some movies skirt the issue by not including women at all, or by giving them bit parts for which they're credited simply as Flight Attendant or Gawky Girl at Party.
A trio of female filmmakers based in Hollywood feels my pain. They want to break into the film industry, as many amazing women do, but they feel overwhelmed by the dearth of female-friendly content currently being produced. In response, they formed the Bitch Pack. The Pack's goal is to support fellow women in the industry and to solicit financial backing for their own projects. They have also begun drafting the Bitch List--a tally of industry votes for projects that pass the Bechdel Test, which is a simple set of three guidelines by which to gauge female representation in a film: 1. Are there two or more named female characters? 2. Do they talk to each other? 3. If so, do they talk about something other than a man?
Inspired by the project, PopChange drafted a pledge to encourage the production of movies with strong female characters. The pledge asks film-industry participants to read and submit scripts for consideration for the final Bitch List, which will be published in January 2013. Through this year-long project, the Bitch Pack and PopChange are hoping to make real waves in the film industry--and to create some female-friendly flicks we'll all be watching at the multiplex, expensive popcorn in hand.
Image source Getty Images and dykestowatchoutfor.com