Female-driven narratives featuring strong leading roles for women are starting to pick up in representation — but before busting out the applause, it must be noted Hollywood still needs to work on adding colour.
On the bright side, competition for lead actress this year will be intense due and in addition to more women being found in prominent roles onscreen. Offscreen, progress is also being made on set as the film industry is finally putting women behind the camera and finding value in female audiences.
With folks such as Academy Award winning actress and producer Reese Witherspoon making noise this year about finding great roles for women and reminding us that female audiences matter, the industry has been heading in a better direction.
Important films such as Suffragette, Truth and Carol are making their ways to the big screens this year following feminist acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road and the recent premiere of LGBTQ themed Freeheld.
Upcoming Suffragette focuses on women, raising awareness to the British women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century and showcases the fight for equality. Though the cast of the human rights film starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep have been making headlines lately for a controversial photoshoot featuring distasteful feminist slogans, the movie itself delivers an important message.
“It’s a film to mark the achievement of what these women did and what they gave to us, but it also highlights where we are in the world. We still live in a society that’s sexist,” Carey Mulligan said at a Suffragette press conference. Meryl Streep also spoke up at the same conference criticizing the fact that box office buzz generated for movies are often driven by critics who are ‘overwhelmingly male’.
Queer representation has also started to make its way into film more in 2015, with drama Freeheld starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page claiming screen time. Freeheld shows audiences same sex struggles born out of inequality when it comes to transferring pension benefits to domestic partners who are suffering from illness.
Same sex love is also the central theme of upcoming Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as the film tells a romantic story about a young shop girl falling in love with an older woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, the film also looks at lesbianism in the 1950s during a time it was certainly frowned upon.
Blanchett may also be considered for an Oscar this year for her portrayal of CBS News producer Mary Mapes in Truth. Based on Mapes, this biographical political drama is about the producer who spearheaded the 2004 investigation of the George W. Bush military scandal — that left Dan Rather shamed.
It’s been a good year for [white women] in film and a significant one for the queer community.
But of course, it should still be noted that the entertainment industry tends to focus on white feminism — which, on some level, is still a move in a better direction. Only it’s still exclusive and holds back fair representation.
In 2016, we want diversity and even better representation — with people of colour making their way into mainstream media.
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