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Gender Stereotyping in The Genres of Modern Films

In different genres of modern day films genders are constantly being stereotyped. For example, In superhero movies the superhero is always a man who ends up saving the woman; who ends up falling for him. Is it necessary for this aspect of a film to occur or would it be beneficial for the film industry to break through these stereotypes?

  • Perhaps gender roles are defined, and in some cases, meant to be broken. Rather than denying the presence of stereotypes in films/movies/comics/etc...maybe we should embrace them or create more of an awareness around thinking critically about our roles and the reality/unreality of what is being portrayed on TV and in what we read. Because let's face it - there is nothing sexy or "real" about women playing the role of a bulky superhero saving the day or a male in distress. Maybe women's strengths can be highlighted or showcased in a different way. I challenge you to consider the ways in which women do contribute strength in ways that are different then men, rather than assuming we are "victims" of gender stereotypes. – Erica 7 years ago
  • The creators will want to be careful to avoid (unless done intentionally) switching the gender roles in such a way to seem like a "fish out of water" story. While they have their place, they do not serve to change gender dynamics. As an example, the upcoming female Ghostbusters seems to do this by switching the gender of almost all of the characters, but is most prominent with Chris Hemsworth as the secretary; Hemsworth, a notable action star, is not expected to serve as a traditionally feminine career path. This isn't bad, but by making it a joke by casting against expectations lowers the impact of having a male secretary. – nsnow 7 years ago
  • To Erica: I think that is exactly what the author is addressing as gender stereotyping. Saying that a woman playing a role of a superhero saving the day isn't "real" is pretty much where the problem lies. What is "real" about a male superhero saving the day? I don't live in America but I haven't yet heard about a Spiderman weaving webs in New York, a Batman fighting crazy villains in some dark city or Superman flying around, haha. So a male superhero is just as fictional as a female one, pardon me. And there is nothing sexy about a female superhero? Just ask someone of the male(and female too by the way) reading comics audience about their opinion on that part... Furthermore, there ARE men in distress, just the way there are women in distress because basically every human being is entitled to have feelings like sorrow, pain and anxiety. So please don't take them the right to feel sad and weak sometimes when things are all wrong. This wouldn't make them less men. It is how we handle things, not how we feel about them. As wise people say, courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Also, the idea of women's strengths vs men's strengths is just deepening the gender stereotyping, do you realize it? Oh yeah, of course, men are strong and protective and women are nurturing and emotionally wise (or whatever). And everybody please act according to their gender prescription! I challenge you to give me an example how Mary Jane from Spiderman or the heroine of Katie Holms in Batman Begins are contributing strength. And by the way, I think the author has given an arbitrary example with the superhero movies: it goes for both sexes. Women are just as "victims" to gender stereotypes as men are. The only difference is maybe that men most frequently get to be represented as more (stronger, cleverer, braver etc - which is not bad after all. As human beings we instinctively look for role models), while women as less (stronger, cleverer, braver etc). That's why you would more often meet complaints about the gender stereotyping in terms of female representation. – kt039 7 years ago
  • And just so that I answer to the original post: yes, I do believe that film industry should break through these stereotypes. I cannot say whether it would be beneficial for it but it would be definitely beneficial for society on the whole, as movies have evolved to be such an integral part of life for the modern person. Basically, I think the principle is the following: Tell boys it's ok and manly to cry and they'll cry. Tell girls it's ok and womanly to fight and they'll fight. – kt039 7 years ago
  • To say that gender stereotyping is a positive is an incorrect pronouncement. Generally when one looks at gender stereotyping in film, it is women in very one-dimensional and generally unflattering roles. It is important that films take general feminine characteristics are treat them as being just as positive and powerful as men's. But it is crucial that women are given the opportunity to be in leading roles which allow them to be complex characters. – Sdlove 7 years ago

Stereotyping vs Preservation of Culture

It would be interesting to take a closer look at cultural stereotypes in American films. It is often seen as uncreative to cast conventional roles, but what about cultural preservation? Is making the Asian character skilled in martial arts cliche or does it show a powerful tradition passed from generation to generation? Is dressing the Saudi Arabian woman in traditional clothing stereotyping or does it represent respect towards her culture? When does it change from cultural appreciation to stereotyping and what are some ways stereotyping in a movie can be harmful to a people group? What are some ways to communicate the value of other people groups without stereotyping? It might also be good to mention cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation.

  • Would also be very interesting to take a look at exactly WHEN the stereotypes appeared and if they changed throughout history. – rp92 7 years ago