Posted by: michellemuldoon | February 17, 2012

Strong Women Love Television

It's a long way up for women.

I’ve noticed something this week. It’s something I always new, but didn’t realize I participated in. I’m talking about the female dominance of TV.

Taking stock of what I watch on television has been an interesting exercise. My “must see” TV  involves programs that incorporate strong female characters. I could argue that it’s because I prefer to watch stories with characters I can relate to, but does it really matter why I watch them, when the bigger question is, why are they so readily available on TV, and not on film?

Let me be clear, I love good escapist, fun television, peppered by more serious fare. That can run the gamut of Lost Girl, to King, both well made Canadian shows. Once Upon a Time is on my list, too. Add The Good Wife, Covert Affairs, Rizzoli and Isles, and a host of other shows where the woman isn’t key, but she’s a strong-willed and independent secondary character (The Finder, for instance), and you get the message.

Strong women are everywhere on television. On film, not so much. It has been changing, but many of the roles are still the wife, the girlfriend, the damaged soul. The hero’s journey in film, is the male journey.  There are a few films this year that buck this trend. The Iron Lady says it all in the title, but it’s still a rare film. When do we get to see one on Benazir Bhutto, for instance? Haywire? Thank you Steven Soderbergh.  And the Underworld series gives us Celine. But how many movies are made, how many scripts written, and how many strong women make it to screen? I’m going on a limb here, but my guess is that the percentages would pale in comparison to television.

We can write them. We can pitch them, but ultimately, we aren’t the ones that give the seal of approval to make them. If we want that to change, we need to vote with our movie theatre dollar. We need to go to the theatre and plunk our hard-earned dollars down in support of other women. I don’t care if all you can afford is a matinée, GO!  Women being funny in Bridesmaids shouldn’t be considered a flash in the pan. “The Hot Righteous Babe With Gun” genre should be a staple of the industry.

I look forward to the day that an Oscar is given to a male actor playing the distraught husband, next to the strong woman who holds the house together. Who wants to write it? Better yet, who wants to make it?

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