Women in Film

In 1984, as seen in my scrapbook, The Women in Film organization had their annual Christmas party. It brought out some of Hollywood’s elites and members of the WIF team. The flyer and included magazine were found in one of the national pockets of my scrapbook. Both, as the party suggests, were celebrations of the continued work to integrate women in front of and behind the camera.

I wanted to connect this entry in the scrapbook with my political rhetoric topic. Women in Film was founded in 1973, and their tireless work has made some progress in opening up positions for women in film. However, like other aspects of women’s representations, the progress is slow building and there is a lot of work to do. According to the Women in Film website only 1.9% of popular grossing films were directed by women last year, and only 21% of these films had a female lead, among other struggled filled statistics. With this limited representations behind and in front of the camera, stories are not be told, the female perspective is not being seen, especially not in the highest grossing films of the year. Therefore, stereotypical, sexist, and misogynistic, representations of women can continue which reflect a rhetoric about women.

This rhetoric reflects a critical approach features the camera having a male gaze, first raised by Laura Mulvey in the mid-1970s. This theoretical approach suggests that representations of women on the screen are sexualized and that the camera is used to sexualize their bodies and limit them as beings to be looked upon. With this gaze intact in some of the most popular films of the year, sexist rhetoric about women, especially their role in the film industry can continue. As women continue to fight for a greater representation in the film industry, others in the industry continue to fight against their progress. This idea can be extended to other identities as well who are not in the majority.