Are Women Unfairly Represented in 21st Century Cinema?

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Words by Naomi Jeffreys

How many times have to watch a trailer for a film, and you see a strong man, the protagonist, taking centre stage. And the woman is simply unfairly represented? She is merely a ‘damsel in distress’? The person who is nice to look at, but has no real substance? Has this happened to you?


It has to me, one such example, is in the portrayal of Hermione Granger in the ‘Harry Potter Series’. If you’ve ever read the novels, then you know that Hermione Granger is clever, a little unhinged and a loyal friend. She has an interesting storyline, fighting for house elves everywhere – S.P.E.W. –¬†Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.

Clearly women in novels are something entirely different than when they are portrayed on film.

Yet, somehow, this strong woman got lost in translation in the films. Often she is overshadowed by her male counterparts, Harry and Ron. In fact, one such example, is in the final film, where Ron and Hermione must kill the last Horcrux with a basilisk fang and she mumbles to Ron; “I can’t”

I can’t? I can’t? How many times has a woman said that in any film you have watched? Emma Watson’s portrayal of Hermione Granger is only one example. If you look at any film, Hollywood and British cinema, women are sketchy figures, half drawn, half acted. They simply don’t seem to match their male counterparts.

Evidently, something needs to change. We are no longer producing silent films, or black and white films where the woman is the ‘damsel in distress’, it isn’t often that women have a real meaty part to get in to. Hollywood simply seems unable to reach a balance in their portrayal of women. They are either weak and feeble or hard arsed.

Something must change, Or I fear cinema may be stuck for any new, fresh films, with a real woman at its heart, at its centre  for audiences to enjoy.