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Women actors

(41 Posts)
MrsTerryPratchett Thu 26-Oct-17 16:24:17

I'm trying to get this thought straight in my head so bear with me.

Hollywood and acting particularly is full of very young, very pretty female actors. Male actors can be older, ugly, fat, weird looking. But women all need to be beautiful and fragrant.

We are sold this as what the market wants. But after Weinstein, it has occurred to me that it seems more likely that good female actors are passed up because male directors and casting staff only want to sexually harass and assault beautiful young women.

Is the casting couch the reason we don't see character actors who are female in the same light as male? Is it the reason that 55 yo male actors have 20 yo female 'wives' on screen? Is it the reason that unless you are incredibly famous your career dies after 30? Do we have a paucity of great female actors because of sexual assault and harassment? It takes time to become a great actor and it seems that women are neither given the roles nor the time.

deckoff Thu 26-Oct-17 17:24:04

Interesting, and possibly a big part of it yes.

An equally unthought answer from me would be, I'd have thought it was more what they thought their audience wanted - and that the general audience they're targeting don't respond well to strong female characters.

I think they're trying to tackle it and you can see the likes of JJ Abrams giving it their best commercialised shot - but I assume they keep testing stuff to find winning formulae, and if they ever did see results from films with a middle aged leading women, they'd replicate those a trillion times.

So my depressing view is that they want money more than anything and they've found a formula that sells: mostly pretty girls, powerful men.

And that's why we have a huge number of depressing reboots and transformer movies, and anything that can be merchandised from kids films, instead of anything like the originality of early Hollywood.

miri1985 Thu 26-Oct-17 23:25:18

"if they ever did see results from films with a middle aged leading women, they'd replicate those a trillion times."

I dunno about that, I mean the 2 SATC films where there was an all female cast in their mid 40's-50's were blockbusters and I don't think it started a trend.

Raisedbyguineapigs Thu 26-Oct-17 23:31:43

I agree with you. I think that an industry with an overwhelmingly make senior management structure, purely driven by money has decided that pretty young women are what makes money. Hopefully now that women have moved into directing and producing, they can show that films with good female actors of all types do make money that may change. Hollywood studio executives are followers, not creative or innovative.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 26-Oct-17 23:42:19

And I’m sure the films with middle aged women in them are massively cheaper to make.

The specific issue I’m angry about though is that your choice is to be a young, beautiful women who is repeatedly sexually harassed or on the scrap heap. There is no Al Pacino/Brad Pitt/William H Macy/Matthew McCauahey (sic) route for women. That would be raw talent/pretty boy to director/character acting/lean on buses and wait for a meaty role.

Not helped by the fact that there are just less women in films. So you can’t really be a jobbing actor either.

I’m so angry that all these women have been attacked AND we have a shitty sexist film industry as cause and effect.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 26-Oct-17 23:53:20

It’s not helped by constantly hearing people say things like, “she’s pretty but not a great actress“. No shit Sherlock. She was chosen based on her looks and vulnerability rather than her talent.

IndominusRex Fri 27-Oct-17 06:56:58

2 words - mamma mia. Ridiculously huge box office. Hollywood types dismissed it as a fluke.

deckoff Fri 27-Oct-17 07:38:21

Maybe you're right.

I'm sorry as I didn't mean to play rape apologist or something by the way, it was more of a devil's advocate "isn't it all about money" feeling.

I still think they work on the principle of "sex sells", but thinking about it, if you fill a supermarket with mars bars then you'll have a lot of very very obese people used to and dependent on mars bars. They've trained their audiences to expect young sexy girl + older but still doable man. Or no girls and a big bunch of men. Or just girls in a chick flick. I can't think of many movies where they get women "right".

And that's contributed to society's general treatment of women as sluts, whores and hags; and presumably discarded a lot of women along the way just because they wouldn't suck someone's dick.

I also wonder how much talent and interesting and brave voices we've lost over the years. Many of the women coming forward are relatively obscure, they were wiped out. It must do something to you when you work in an industry where rape is the demoralising eye-roll norm.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 27-Oct-17 14:58:39

I'm sorry as I didn't mean to play rape apologist or something by the way

Not at all. I think the money plays it’s part too.

I do think the Mamma Mia/SATC/Bridesmaids ‘it’s a fluke’ line gets wheeled out a lot. It’s only a fluke because it happens once. Try doing it again and you’ll see!

I watch Pitch Perfect when I’m depressed about this. Especially #2. The women are varied, interesting, funny, strong and the male characters are plot points for them and it only just passes a reverse Bechdel test. And it made money!

deydododatdodontdeydo Fri 27-Oct-17 15:23:44

2 words - mamma mia. Ridiculously huge box office. Hollywood types dismissed it as a fluke.

Really?
They are making a sequel.

QueenOfTheSardines Fri 27-Oct-17 15:31:55

Most films are made by men and contain things that the men who make them are interested it. The last few films I've watched I've commented to DH that various aspects of it are straight up 15 year old boy fantasy stuff. Even "good" films.

As long as men are making films about things men are interested in we will continue to see a wide variety of male characters with a range of looks, personalities, interests, and the female characters presented as 2-D stereotypes, often young and attractive and there for aesthetics.

Like, why do they always have to visit strip clubs in so many american films and TV shows? Because who doesn't like to see some sexy ladies in the background while the plot is being furthered, is why!

Whole thing pisses me off.

Short answer is yes hollywood is by men for men so what do you expect.

MichelGarnier Fri 27-Oct-17 15:32:46

I read an article about a similar thing recently. Basically it boiled down to - if the casting director/producer/director whoever don't find the actress fuckable then she won't get the part. So if they like young, white, under 25 women, that's who gets in the film.

They seem to forget that a massive chunk of cinema goers are over 50s, or that they have the money and time to go, anyway. So that's why there was the 2nd best exotic marigold whatever, because the first one did so well at the box office, because it appealed to an older audience.

MichelGarnier Fri 27-Oct-17 15:36:50

Yy Queen Deborah of the guilty feminist spoke about that once. She was watching the big short (I haven't seen it) with her husband and apparently there's a scene where Margot Robbie explains some economics bit whilst naked in a bath and she felt it was just totally for men and the filmmakers had just presumed she would be in the other screen watching a chick flick or something.

Dozer Fri 27-Oct-17 15:42:28

“male directors and casting staff only want to sexually harass and assault beautiful young women. “

Men who commit sexual offences do so against a wide range of women, and sometimes men and children.

Agree though that it seems likely that the sexism that pervades the industry is demonstrated both by sexual assaults and the inequality in parts available to women, and pay.

Bucketsandspoons Fri 27-Oct-17 15:48:07

Its one of the reasons that despite it's many faults, I like Greys Anatomy. The blind casting not only created a lot of racial diversity but put women like the very gorgeous Sara Ramirez and Chandra Wilson in key roles and the series shows them off looking fantastic when they're anything but stereotypical Hollywood body types.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 27-Oct-17 15:49:39

Men who commit sexual offences do so against a wide range of women, and sometimes men and children.

In the context of the recent revelations, it appears to be young, beautiful women. I think the poor Coreys will change that debate in Hollywood eventually. I do think that the victim choices of the perpetrators won't be based on the talent of the actor though.

MrsSpenserGregson Fri 27-Oct-17 16:14:22

Totally agree with you MrsTerryPratchettand I've been repulsed by this ever since I realised - WHEN I WAS A CHILD FGS - how vastly different in age, and attractiveness, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were <shudder>

I'm too depressed by recent revelations to say anything intelligent about it though.

In addition to PitchPerfect, may I recommend Spy as another fun movie - if not a rather formulaic one in other ways - that breaks with the older non-hot man / hot young chick stereotype? Melissa McCarthy, Miranda Hart and Alison Janney - yayyy. (I'm still struggling with a tiny part of myself that wonders if MM was cast in the role so the audience could laugh at her rather than sigh along with her at the stereotyping her character endures, but I'm trying to suppress that thought and celebrate the fact that none of the three lead actresses is under 40 or "conventionally" pretty, and therefore all the more wonderful for that ... )

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 27-Oct-17 16:19:03

may I recommend Spy as another fun movie I love that film. And what's interesting is that she is 'rewarded' at the end of the film with sex with Jason Statham's character who dislikes her through the film and is utterly gorgeous considered more attractive than her. Messing with sex roles there!

iklboo Fri 27-Oct-17 16:23:17

Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall were married.

MrsSpenserGregson Fri 27-Oct-17 16:27:26

They were indeed, but not when they first started working together. They met on a film set when she was 19 and he was 44 (and he was married to someone else at the time). Lovely.

MrsSpenserGregson Fri 27-Oct-17 16:29:52

Yes MrsTerry! Although i like to think that it's Jason's reward too, as Melissa is so fab grin

BitterLittlePoster Sat 28-Oct-17 02:17:16

I'm with you, Mrs. P.

Recently I made my DD watch Outrageous Fortune with Bette Midler and Shelley Long. It's described as a female "buddy movie". I saw it years ago and loved it. It's not a feminist movie and it's not perfect but the leads are women and I thought it was really fun and entertaining. DD loved it too.

So I was thinking about that and I wondered how much money it made. About 52 million US$. In 1987. A few years later The Shawshank Redemption, which is quite the sausage fest and everybody's heard of it, haven't they? (in the US, at least) made 28 million.

9 to 5 with Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda as the leads made 103 million in 1980. (!)

So my conclusion with this little bit of research is as I suspected, it's not about the money.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 28-Oct-17 03:00:25

It’s the same reason that the highest grossing actor (e.g. Jennifer Lawrence) wasn’t the highest paid actor Dwayne Johnson last year).

MichelGarnier Sat 28-Oct-17 11:13:16

God that's depressing Bitter. Didn't someone post on here saying Hidden Figures beat Ben Affleck's Batman film on opening weekend?

I've just looked up the overall figures - and HF took $233 million at the box office (it had a $25 million budget). Will we see another film with 3 black female leads anytime soon? I'm not holding my breath...

Batman v superman took $873m, which is a lot more but it did have a $250/300m budget, so not actually that good a return.

hackmum Sat 28-Oct-17 11:38:05

deckoff: "'I'd have thought it was more what they thought their audience wanted - and that the general audience they're targeting don't respond well to strong female characters."

They might think that, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence to support it.

When I was young (1970s), you used to hear all sorts of shit, such as "The reason there are no female newsreaders is because nobody likes listening to women's voices, as they're too high-pitched" or "Even women don't like seeing women doctors". And so on, multiplied by 100.

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