Gender and Series #4


This word translates one of our society's hottest topics, and a key element of the audiovisual landscape.

Between clichés, stereotypes and dicrimination, some series sometimes fall under tropisms.

At Canneseries, we would like to try and understand the dynamics at work by relaying each week a series of articles, studies and key data decoding the subject.

Behind or in front of the camera, how are stories told, and produced, as well as the gendered identities they identifiy with?


Did you know?


Named after graphic memoirist and cartooonist Alison Bechdel, the Bechdel Test allows one to measure, not the narrative quality or 'feminist' perspective of a film or series, but the way women are portrayed on screen and the range of discourses they are caracterized by. 


3 criteria to pass the test


1) Two (named) female characters are in the film or series 

2) They talk to each each other

3) Of something other than a man 




To make all the criteria does not necessarily that a content is 'good or bad'. It should only be considered as a tool, a sort of cultural barometer, in order to encourage collective awaireness and maybe a broaden range of characters features and hues on the long term. 

Like Bechdel said herself, boycotting the contents that fail the test is out of question. Meeting the test criteria isn't a guarantee of a non-biased female representation or feminist caution; and non-Bechdel series can put female empowerment in the spotlight. Even though Stranger Things does not meet the criteria or despite the fact that only 18 GOT episodes out of 67 pass the test, these shows depict powerful and complex female characters. 




The representation of the different genres and identities on screen hasn't always allowed to do justice to the community it concerned. In the case of transgender people, some movies have sometimes fallen under caricatural representations to the point it become laughable ; more over, only a few transgender actors familiar with sexual reassignation were cast in such roles. 



The series genre could become the referential support of the stories and characters told by those who can fully grasp the ins-and-outs of the topic. From Orange is the New Black to Pose, Shameless or Sense8, more and more role are given to transgender withtout the plot revolving directly on their identity. 

Aiming at a better representation of all identities, a double objective is to be taken into account and was clearly developped in a GLAAD video in parternship with Netflix in 2017: allow more transgender actors on screen and allow those same actors to play the roles of their gender regardless of the transition being mentionned the script.