The Smurfette Syndrome


I took a Women’s Studies class in college, in part because it fulfilled a credit requirement, but I quickly learned it was one of the best classes I would ever take.  It really opened my eyes, and it was then that I slowly began to look at the world differently.  I would also learn that I am a bit of a feminist, but don’t let that sway you. 🙂

I don’t think I made a conscious effort to alter my writing, but the types of stories I wanted to tell were definitely intended more for women.  The majority of my scripts have predominately female casts.  Those were a conscious decision.  The funny thing is, this started long before I learned that there was a growing problem in Hollywood, the place I want to be a part of, in the continuation of a lack of a female presence, both in front and behind the camera.

The Smurfette Syndrome aka “the token” girl has continued its prevalence according to the numbers this summer at the movies.  I saw this article about the trend and felt it deserved a share.  There was also this article from a little while ago from the NY Film Academy.  I can’t remember if I shared it before, but it also discusses the inequality in the numbers.

So what’s my point?  Be sure to include the other half of the population in your storytelling, and not in just some token capacity.  Create an opportunity to balance out the scales.  Since many novels are now the basis for films, it would be wonderful to see a surge to encourage a change.  I’m not saying that you have to change all your characters from male to female, but be aware of stereotypes, and don’t perpetuate the trend.  Think of the younger generation.  How they need more role models in their literature and entertainment.  I mean seriously, no solo Wonder Women movie yet?  The fact that Disney is not planning on releasing any further Princess Leia merchandise?  Maybe the lower numbers at the box office is the start of this awareness.

I guess the phrase “change starts at home” might be some of the most useful advice to encourage diversity.

Write well, my friends!


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