Date published:

April 27, 2021

What Does Feminism in Film Look Like?

Films are often said to be feminist if they strike a particular tone or have certain attributes. But learning how to recognize these feminism attributes in a film. And the impact they have on filmmaking can be tough for a newbie. What does feminism in film look like, exactly? And, how can we tell that a movie is in fact, “feminist?” 

Topics on feminism in relation to film have been popular for more than half a decade. With early coverage beginning in relation to films of the 1960s and continuing on into the 1990s.

A fourth wave of feminism is said to be currently underway in society. But how have each of these feminism waves impacted filmmaking? And how can filmmakers learn to recognize what feminism in film looks like?

What is Feminism?

Feminism represents the advocacy of women’s rights and the equality of rights based on gender. Feminists frequently focus on political and economic theories of equality. And how female rights impact society as a whole.

In simple terms, feminism is represented by the social and political movements towards integration of equal rights for both men and women (mostly women) and the campaigning for such.

What Does Feminism in Film Look Like?

While feminism may sound like it’s a “love” for women, that’s really not the focus. In fact, the focus of feminism is on equality of the sexes.

Films that impart feminism are depicted by acts, narratives, and underlying plots that cause the audience to carefully examine equal rights for women and the impact of unequal rights on women as they move through life on a day-to-day basis.

Signs of a Film

Spotting feminism in film is a matter sometimes of simply peering the strong female lead. But a strong female isn’t a true sign of a feminist film. While this can be one signal, it’s certainly not the deciding factor that deems a film to be feminist.

Remember, feminism films are those which make the audience think closely about women’s equal rights and the impact on society.

A strong female role wouldn’t necessarily do this. But a strong female lead that included a narrative. That caused the audience to examine the female representation in society.

And showcased some level of advocacy for social, political, legal, or economic rights of women to be equal to the same rights of men. That is what feminism in film looks like!

The Underlying Narrative

Feminism in film is marked by a film that has an agenda toward equal women’s rights behind it. You might spot feminism in film if you carefully look at the plot of a film. And the underlying narrative. More than just the women that are included in the movie.

Look for a film with female actors and a purpose. So, what does feminism in film look like? It’s a film where the purpose is not simply to show that women are badasses. But that women are badasses that are not treated the same as men who are equally capable. 

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