Who’s Perpetuating Sexist Stereotypes and Behaviors Female Consumers or Hollywood?

17 Apr

1st. Article in our 5-week series on The Next Generation of Films for Women

Internalize sexism, the term is tossed around a lot but what does it mean? In short, it is the practice of women enacting learned sexist behaviors on themselves and other women.  Internalize sexism falls into four categories according to an article Fabric of Internalized Sexism in the Journal of Integrated Sciences.[1] They are 1). Assertions of incompetence, which express an internalized sense of powerlessness; 2). Competition between women; 3). The construction of women as objects; and 4). The invalidation or derogation of women.  In this article we look into the possibility of women enacting sexist behaviors on themselves and others by way of romance novels and films.

Before we get ahead of ourselves lets list the prominent sexist behaviors given in the Fabric of Internalized Sexism. They include sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, job discrimination and limiting women’s rights in legislation. The subtle day to day sexist behaviors that can be administered by employers, parents and teachers include, treating girls as if they need to be taken care of, expecting women to be caretakers, to serve men, put the needs of others before their own, may be criticized or ostracized for being assertive, visible, or outspoken, may find their opinions discounted, may be disliked as leaders unless they fit female stereotypes by acting nurturing. Hmm! Sounds like most romance novels and films from five years ago or do they? Is it sexist to assume romance novels and films only appeal women?

According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter called Marvel Comics Goes Fifty Shades with New Line of Romance Novels stated,

In a press release, the company says the “novels showcase strong, smart heroines seeking happiness and love while battling cosmic evil.”

“The She-Hulk Diaries focuses on Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk), who is trying to balance climbing the corporate ladder during the day with battling super villains at night “all while trying to navigate the dating world to find a Mr. Right who might not mind a sometimes very big and green girlfriend.”[2]

Romance and action is this the next generation of films for women? Wow! Can women have more than one genre? Today there are romance novels that promote sexist stereotypes and behaviors for example Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. Yet, despite what’s popular among female readers and moviegoers there are some artist and movie studios who are taking a stance against sexist stereotypes and behaviors. Films like Brave, The Iron Lady and Zero Dark Thirty marked a new era for seeing smart female archetypes in positions of leadership in films. What’s interesting all three films had little or no romance in them. Today, given how popular Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey is among women, whom do you think is perpetuating sexist stereotypes and internalized sexist behaviors female consumers or Hollywood?

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28 Responses to “Who’s Perpetuating Sexist Stereotypes and Behaviors Female Consumers or Hollywood?”

  1. Comic Relief April 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM #

    O.B.,

    I like the way you have defined a presentation condition that consumers may observe when looking for women in film. How do you feel about other current action and adventure movies revolving around lead women or films focusing on women?

    The Call

    The Host

    • Open Book April 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM #

      CR-U said”How do you feel about other current action and adventure movies revolving around lead women or films focusing on women?”

      Good Q: I was surprised to learn “The Call” was put out by the WWE. Although, the heroine played by Halle Berry survives. The entire film is one big torture porn festival against women. But to save face at the end they throw Berry’s character a bone and she gets revenge by torturing her assailant. Hmm! IMO this film is sending out the wrong message.

      There were so many films like “The Call” I did not mention that came out last year that attempted to masquerade as films that empowered women but in reality only promotes sexist stereotypes against women. Case in point “Snow White & The Huntsman” which put women at odds with each other. Also, “Breaking Dawn 2” that promoted female children being romanced by men (like we need this during a time when human trafficking of children is at an all time high). Gosh, all films that starred Kristen Stewart are horrible for empowering women.

      • Comic Relief April 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM #

        I know you were fairly dismissive of Twilight within the article. Should we assume you feel similarly about Stephanie Meyer’s new movie “the Host.”

        • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:08 PM #

          Gosh! The Host? Hmm! I read some of the book. However, the film I only stayed for 5 minutes and thought it was pretty bad. I think Twilight was it.

          • ozzie20 April 18, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

            I’ve never read The Host and I doubt I will ever see the movie either, lol!

            • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 8:11 PM #

              Yeah! I saw it for free and could not last beyond 5 minutes. So save your time and money.

  2. Comic Relief April 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM #

    Who do you believe does a better job in this regard; film or TV presentations women?

    • Open Book April 17, 2013 at 5:39 PM #

      Hmm! I would say films at the moment only because I don’t watch television so I can’t really judge.

      • Comic Relief April 18, 2013 at 3:11 AM #

        LOL! O.K, ’nuff said.

  3. Comic Relief April 18, 2013 at 3:44 AM #

    “According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter called Marvel Comics Goes Fifty Shades with New Line of Romance Novels stated,
    “In a press release, the company says the “novels showcase strong, smart heroines seeking happiness and love while battling cosmic evil.”

    I thought it was really provocative to discuss Marvel comics (one of the bigger producers of contemporary films) in regard to their attempts to produce feminine material.

    On film and in Fox Studios productions we’ve seen heroine characters like Electra, Rouge, Storm, and from Marvel Entertainment we’ve seen Black Widow, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, and Peggy Carter.

    Pepper Potts (Ironman 3)

    Jane Foster, though the announcer is wrong about who she thinks is playing the character

    Peggy Carter

  4. Comic Relief April 18, 2013 at 3:45 AM #

    please ignore the last clip

  5. Comic Relief April 18, 2013 at 3:50 AM #

    O.B.,

    Please ignore the fanboy antics but would you be willing to accept that Marvel was just trying to obscure the perception that they are losing this female visibility game (IN COMICS) to their biggest book competitor DC Comics. Marvel has only 2 ongoing titles dedicated to female characters and it appears DC has at least 10. These are the titles.

    ‘Wonder Woman’, Super Girl, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman, Birds of Prey, World’s Finest, Katana, Amethyst, VooDoo, …

    • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:02 PM #

      Hi CR,

      Good question. Yes, I like DC female characters. I’ve always thought they were more developed than Marvels. What I like about DC’s? All the characters can stand on their own. They are very independent.

      • Comic Relief April 18, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

        O.B.,

        Glad you like the characters, even though some are intentionally deriviative:

        “……….Supergirl, Batgirl, Batwoman………….”

        Regardless what I think is good is like you even Marvel recognizes that they aren’t supplying the market you speak of with any of the dramatic material consumers like you would like.

        The “Fifty Shades…” reference makes it pretty clear they do not know what to supply young or any other female audience with what they want.

        Can you imagine a better route for supplying empowerment starved women with the dramatic material they need?

        • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

          I think women want variety and want to be empowered just like men do. I think what is horrible when limitations are put on people in efforts to control and have power over them. My point is women and men both are given power it just depends on how they use it.

          • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

            Furthermore- I think when women only have limited options that don’t empower them they don’t know what is possible. So I don’t blame women who like 50 Shades and Twilight. I think it shows how much they have internalized sexist beliefs. In other words its just a symptom of a problem.

  6. Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:03 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  7. Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:18 PM #

    Do u think men like Romance films more than women?

  8. Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

    What romance films do you think appeal to both men & women ?

  9. ozzie20 April 18, 2013 at 7:39 PM #

    Hi everyone!

    Very interesting article OB! I didn’t quite know what internalized sexism was but I do now!

    • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      • ozzie20 April 18, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

        Hi OB!

  10. Open Book April 18, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

    Ozzie,

    Why do u think women like Twilight & 50 Shades?

    • ozzie20 April 18, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

      I honestly don’t know! I’ll have a go at guessing but I’m half asleep here, they may not make much sense, lol!

      50 Shades is just a no go area for me! When someone you’ve know for the majority of your life, who has… I guess you could say a new boyfriend (it’s complicated and a long story, lol) and she happily tells you she loves 50 Shades…. *vommit* I don’t need to know that kind of stuff. I have an over active imagination as it is, I don’t need the mental image which keeps popping up. I’m scarred by it, lol! Where’s the brain bleach!

      I’m going to have to think on Twilight. I want to say something like it has an old fashion way of thinking.regarding the roles of how men and women should behave. But I can’t think of how to expand that thought at the moment, lol!

      • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

        Hahaha! I’m laughing at your brain bleach comment.

        I’m going to have to come back and answer u tomorrow before the power goes out again.

        Goodnight All!

      • Open Book April 19, 2013 at 2:38 PM #

        Ozzie- ITA there is an old fashion behavior or etiquette Edward exhibited toward Bella. Men holding the door, chair or helping a lady on with her coat, etc. IMO is a show of respect for women, which is not often seen today. Anyway, I don’t know if this is what u meant about Twilight.

  11. ozzie20 April 18, 2013 at 9:18 PM #

    I’m going to have to go. My brain is refusing to work! I’ll check in tomorrow and hopefully will be able to fully think through my Twilight thought, lol! Night all.

    • Open Book April 18, 2013 at 9:36 PM #

      Goodnight Oz!,

      I’m sorry for being off and on tonight. We have a thunderstorm happening and the power keeps going out. Thanks for coming. Always great talking to u. I hope u feel better.

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