The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) will now have films rated F – Feminist Films. F-Rated films are those that are either a) Written by a woman, or b) Directed by a woman, or c) Have considerable screen time for the named women characters.
The F rating was first used by the Bath Film Festival in 2014, to highlight the lack of women in the film industry. Festival director Holly Tarquini devised the rating to point out that women have very little creative role in the film industry, and said, “The F-Rating is intended to make people talk about the representation of women on and off screen.”
IMDb is the latest organisation to join the campaign, with nearly twenty-two thousand films rated F on the site. As Silverscreen reported earlier, while women leads in films – especially Hollywood films – are on the rise, the industry still isn’t very diverse or inclusive, with less than 7% of films directed by women.
Many films fail to pass the Bechdel-Wallace test, devised by cartoonist Allison Bechdel based on an idea by Liz Wallace. The Bechdel-Wallace test, originally set out in 1985, part of the cartoon series Dykes To Watch Out For, stipulates that:
- The movie has to have at least two women in it, (Sometimes this is expanded to say Two Named Women characters)
- who talk to each other,
- about something besides a man.
Allison Bechdel and Liz Wallace themselves credit Virgina Woolf’s A Room of Her Own for the inspiration:
All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted. And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends. There is an attempt at it in Diana of the Crossways. They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies. They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men. It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen’s day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex. And how small a part of a woman’s life is that; and how little can a man know even of that when he observes it through the black or rosy spectacles which sex puts upon his nose.
There are a list of films that pass the Bechdel-Wallace test, and the European Cinema Fund incorporated the Bechdel-Wallace test in their list of requirements for submission. The same year that Bath Film Festival devised its F Rating.
However, in India, our esteemed CBFC sees fit to ban films – such as Lipstick Under my Burkha – for being too “lady oriented”.
Featured Image Courtesy: BBC