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?
Double, Double, toil and babble
One of the most common stereotypes about women is that they never stop talking: chatterbox, yapper, blabbermouth, take your pick. Not only is that cliché utterly untrue and rather stupid but it turns out to be particularly wrong when it comes to entertainment and the gendered distribution of dialog in films. The double standard of speech seems indeed particularly vivid with huge gaps taking shapes regarding for instance the amount of dialog or the age of the speaker.
Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels analyzed the gendered tendencies and data in over 2000 films in terms of speech. Indeed, the Bechdel test isn't always a reliable method to get the greater picture to see who talks, in what kind of contents and in what way they take various perspectives into account.
For instance, age doesn't affect male and female lines in the same way. Quite the opposite in fact. Over 40 years old, female characters have less and less lines in films, when inversely more and more male roles are available as we go up the age ladder.
A feature worth a thousand words
Last Tuesday, the great Emma Thompson published a letter in the Los Angeles Times to explain why she was leaving the animation project Luck produced by Skydance studios. Sent mid-January to the producers of the film, the letter detailled how the hiring of former Pixar titan John Lasseter, fired after accusations of sexual harrasment, made it impossible for the actress to remain involved in the project. We invite you to read the whole text but you can find below an extract of the said letter, educative, inspiring and beautifully stand-making.
« As you know, I have pulled out of the production of “Luck” — to be directed by the very wonderful Alessandro Carloni. It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate. (…) If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason he’s not touching them inappropriately now is that it says in his contract that he must behave ‘professionally’ ? »
In 2016 Ellen Page and her best friend launched the docu-series Gaycation, travelling the world to learn about the different features of the LGBTQ communities in different countries. What does it imply to be lesbian in Japan? How can Orlando recover after the atrocities of June 2016? Who are the actors of the pro-gay rights movement in Jamaica? Each 40-minute episode explores the intricacies and portrayals of places and people with great and inspiring encounters one can benefit of regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.