Two days ago, a movie producer named Ross Putman started a Twitter account to document the belittling and objectifying descriptions of female characters in the scripts that he reads. Putman's project, which goes by @FemScriptsIntros, already has over 44,000 followers.
In each tweet, Putman replaces the character's name with "JANE," emphasizing the lack of agency these female roles have—anyone who's caught a Hollywood blockbuster or three knows that women are usually cast as romantic interests for male leads. "I went back and combed through past scripts too, and the patterns were pretty disconcerting," the producer explained in an interview with Jezebel yesterday. "I plan on posting every one that I read, and there are plenty that aren’t offensive, but honestly, most of them have some element—subtle or overt—that plays into latent objectification."
Actors themselves have been calling out for better roles for women for ages. In yesterday's Entertainment Weekly roundtable with Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, and Elizabeth Banks, the former said "there's just a whole spectrum of female emotion that isn't represented in film in any way." Witherspoon went on to note that even though Hunger Games character "Katniss Everdeen is the biggest female superstar of the last three years, she gets not one but two boys next to her on the poster."
According to a 2014-2015 study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, "females comprised 22% of protagonists featured in the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2015." That's only 6% more than in 2002. And of course, just because there are more roles for women it doesn't mean those roles are good enough. Putnam's revelation isn't a new one by any means, but what's interesting is seeing that sexism is literally written into the script. SMDH, screenwriters of the world. We deserve better.