The Bitch List

I was recently interviewed for LA Women. There’s quite a lot about how women are treated in the Industry, a subject that doesn’t come up on TAPA as much as it should.

Here’s a quick snippet:

You work for a guy and he doesn’t take you seriously, you work for a girl and she sees you as competition. I wish I could say that it was an even playing field, but there’s a reason you see so few women in Hollywood. I do have the controversial opinion that women in Hollywood are cruel to other women; we have to change that or we’ll never gain momentum.

Shoot on over to the LA Women Tumblr for the full interview.

* * *

In related news, the Bitch Pack has announced the latest Hollywood list– the Bitch List.

Like the Black List, it’s better than it sounds. They’re trying to find the best script in Hollywood that pass the Bechdel Test.

For those of you who don’t know, the Bechdel Test is a measure of how Hollywood treats women. To pass the test, the movie must, 1) Have at least two (named) female characters, 2) who speak to each other, 3) about something other than a man.

The feminists mostly hunt at night. Mostly.
This passes.

Of course, the test is not perfect, and reasonable people can disagree on whether or not a movie strictly passes.

And then there’s this moron, talking about Black Swan:

Swan Lake is written by Tchiakovsky, so any time the characters are talking about the play and the pressure of performing the role, they’re really talking about him.

The Bechdel Test is an attempt to codify a measure of how films represent genuine, complex female characters (part 1), who don’t exist alone in a world of men (part 2), and who have lives outside of their relationship to men (part 3). It’s sad that so many movies fail. But the strict reading of the rule (written as a punchline to a comic 25 years ago) leads to comments like this, regarding Bridesmaids:

The subject matter of the conversations in this movie matter little because every single interaction is done under the context of a wedding, under a man. None of these conversations would be occurring if a man were not involved at some point, even if behind the scenes, so no matter how you spin it a man is being referred to somewhere along the line, even in a conversation about puppies.

This absolutely does make a difference as to whether or not it passes the Bechdel test. #3 is supposed to mean that female characters’ conversations occur in their own right, not under the context of a man. Why can’t women in film have their own conversations under their own circumstances? Why does a man always have to be involved at some point? This is blatant patriarchy and it’s foolish to claim that something like this should pass the Bechdel test. I’ll grant you that it’s a step up from most movies, but it’s nowhere near acceptable.

By this rationale, The Hangover does not pass the reverse-Bechdel, and does not truly represent men outside the context of women. And do you know what that is?

Still better than Pants on the Ground.

If you’re an agent, manager, exec, producer, or an assistant thereto, send an email to the next time you read a good script that passes (to what ever degree you choose).

Still, I wouldn’t hold your breath


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5 Responses

  1. Both parts of this post are some of the most compelling comments I’ve read regarding women in Hollywood. As a female assistant to a female CEO, your interview with LA Women touched on so many issues that arise in the workplace every day. It is virtually impossible to be taken seriously at my company–especially when my boss doesn’t take her job seriously and chooses to shop and go to mommy-and-me classes rather than show up to work. It disgusts me that women in power abuse their authority and create such a negative image for other industry females who are serious about getting work done like a professional, business-minded individual.

    In regards to female peers, I think competition is healthy as long as it doesn’t involve some kind of gender manipulation. Using one’s sexuality to get ahead is self-destructive, and it reinforces the misguided perspective that women can’t hang with the proverbial big boys.

    As an appropriate side note: Happy International Women’s Day!

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