Women in Scripts

Here’s an article from the i newspaper which should date back several decades but is all too current:

“Hollywood’s relationship with women has always been problematic, with regular accusations of sexism and agism. Now a US film producer is revealing just how ingrained the sexist culture is by exposing the lurid descriptions of women he finds in the numerous scripts that land on his desk.

Ross Putnam started posting examples of the “problematic” descriptions on his Twitter account @femscriptintros on Wednesday. His initial examples, including the paramedic who is “blonde, fit, smokin’ hot” to the wife who “was model pretty once, but living an actual life has taken its toll” have gained more than 40,000 followers in just a few days.  “These are intros for female leads in actual scripts I read. Names changed to Jane, otherwise verbatim,” he wrote before adding: “Apologies if I quote your work.” The first post ran: “Like draping the Venus De Milo in a burlap dress, Jane’s sensational natural beauty fights through her plain blue Ann Taylor outfit.” Other examples included “All heads turn to find Jane (28) i the doorway: stunning and trying her best to hid it” and “Jane, a 19-year-old Bunny girl – honey-blonde farmland beauty queen.”

When one Twitter user asked if the quotes were from real scripts, he responded: “Couldn’t make them up if I tried.” The phenomenon is not unique to the US. Samantha Horley, a British film and script consultant, said: “It’s exactly the same situation over here. It’s incredibly prevalent and it makes me judge the writer or director immediately.” she added: “The world has changed and it is leaving a lot of women in production and development and I don’t know very many who would read these scripts ad take a film-maker seriously.” Ms Horley was sent a script this week “That I had to send back saying there was no room for that sort of thing any more. I read it ad rolled my eyes.” One British-based actor, using the pseudonym Miss L, told i: “it’s a huge problem. The female characters are described by their looks and the male characters by their jobs.”

Some of Ross Puttnam’s worst examples include:

Jane sits hunched over a microscope. She’s attractive, but too professional to care about her appearance.

Jane is in her mid-30s and attractive, even now with dark semi-circles underlining her closed eyes.

A gorgeous woman, Jane, 23, is a little tipsy, dancing naked on her big bed, as adorable as she is sexy.

Jane pours her gorgeous figure into a tight dress and slips into her stiletto-heeled f**k-me shoes.

Jane stares into camera – she’s beautiful but hard, like a layer of humanity has been scraped away.


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