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. 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.”
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?