The 5 Worst On-Screen Representations of Women
It’s no surprise that women’s representation in popular media today is skewed and can not only cause harm the perception of women in real life but the stories are completely unrealistic. This almost does not come as a surprise; not only do women have poor representation but there are hardly any women given speaking roles. There are also virtually no women taking big parts behind the scenes–only 8 percent of directors, 13.6 percent of writers and 19.1 percent of producers were female in 2008, and that is the crux of the problem.
If 92% of directors that are translating their visions to the screen are male, then that means very little instances in which women are creating a story from a female perspective.
That brings us a top five list of the worst on-screen representation of women.
5. Glee’s Santana Lopez
Naya Rivera’s character is disgustingly stereotypical and hyper-sexualized, making Santana not only a gross representation for women but also for Latinas. She was created and written by three men–superstar Ryan Murphy and his two rinky-dink sidekicks, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan–who obviously not only have no idea what it’s like to be one of the only minorities in a white-majority high school. They are completely clueless when it comes to writing a remotely realistic Latina.
4. Little Black Book’s Stacy Holt
Directed by Nick Hurran, Little Black Book is about a manic girlfriend who is obsessed about her boyfriend’s prior relationships and goes on to annoyingly snoop through his personal handheld. All the women in Hurran’s misogynist masterpiece are portrayed at meant to be independent characters who are succeeding in their respective career paths. However, the five prominent women are all nothing with Derek, the man that the entire move centers around; his exes still haven’t moved past him, his current girlfriend is driven to the point of embarrassing insecurity, and even a woman who’s never met Derek becomes obsessed with his past loves. Hurran paints these women in an unrealistic yet typical light: the jealous girlfriend and the ex that will never let you go.
3. Sucker Punch’s “Babydoll”
This 2011 action fantasy film was Robert Snyder’s misogynistic boyhood fantasies repackaged in an attempt to appeal to a female audience as “empowering.” Snyder infantilized and belittled a woman going through genuine hardship and distress by squeezing her into a tiny mini-skirt and giving her pigtails. What part of that sounds empowering? Not to mention sexual assault being exploited and disregarded.
2. Maid in Manhattan’s Marisa Ventura
Wayne Wang’s is a classic tale of America’s insistent white savior complex. Jennifer Lopez’s character plays a stereotypical maid in a high class New York City hotel. However, she is different from all the other Mexican maids because Ralph Fiennes’ handsome white man-ness sees her as a diamond in the rough and sweeps her right off her feet. The story is old and tired and a disgrace for women and Latinas everywhere.
1. Big Bang Theory’s Penny
Chuck Lorre is notorious for being a terrible human being but Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is his worst creation yet. Lorre is known for writing women as objects simply to be lusted after by man (when faced with a women that could actually be a real character, Sara Gilbert on BBT, the writers dropped her because they “didn’t know how to write for her”). Penny fits his typical mold as the hot blond who moved to L.A. to be an actress. Penny is Big Bang Theory’s female lead and she doesn’t even have a last name.
There are times when Hollywood does things right–Erin Brockovich, Buffy the Badass, Matilda’s lovely Miss Honey– but those times are few and far between. Especially lately, we are seeing the male-dominated profession becoming lazy. Women are given cheap roles that usually revolve around their male counterparts, as seen in the latest Transformers movies. The surest way to ensure great female visibility in Hollywood is for movie studios to higher a great amount of female directors, writers, and producers to put their creations on the big screen.
Written by Alicia Perez