Forced feminism on the big screen

Jessica Isser

With all of the new movies being produced that star strong female leads, one would think that Hollywood is portraying women in a less degrading and more celebratory way than in the past. However, is this new portrayal of women positively representing their role in society?

Movies such as Miss Bala, starring Gina Rodriguez, Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson and Frozen II, starring Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, emphasize the strength and independence of women. With their focus on feminism and female empowerment, these movies are preaching the idea that women can be the protagonists of their own stories. 

Whether it be Rodriguez’s character, Gloria, saving herself and her family from the dangerous world of drug cartels, Captain Marvel battling galactic aliens, or Elsa using her magic to embark on a journey of self-discovery, all three of these movies have something in common: women’s self-determination.

While it’s  important to see women in Hollywood being given roles which highlight their strength, the overproduction of these movies sends out a negative message to young girls around the world. By making all female leads super human in some way, Hollywood is teaching girls that in order to succeed they need to be extraordinary. 

From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  to  Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood there are many movies which star an ordinary man. When a man is the lead of a movie, the movie doesn’t need to be about his strength, intelligence, or impressive qualities; it can just be about his life. This is not the case for women. According to Women and Hollywood, 39 out of the top 100 highest grossing movies of 2018 starred a woman; however, most of these movies don’t show women in a realistic way. 

Today in Hollywood, if a woman is the lead of a movie which does not fall under the category of “Rom Com,” the movie is most likely about the strength and power of that woman. A female protagonist can’t be the main focus of the movie unless the film is drawing a direct connection to feminism. 

While it’s refreshing to see Hollywood recognize the importance of women, the industry is trying too hard to make films about female empowerment. The abundance of movies which fall into this genre cause the media to send the message that women need to be exceptional, and if they’re not, they don’t deserve attention

Hollywood has fallen into a paradox where while they are trying to promote female equality and empowerment, they are simultaneously creating an unrealistic and unattainable image of women in society. By only seeing women as superheroes, magical creatures or even an enemy of the Mexican drug cartel, young girls are being taught that they need to be extraordinary to make it in this world.