Does Hollywood Revolve Around Men? ‘One Man’ Video Says Yes

Deathwish‘s Charles Bronson, doing what dudes do

Is Hollywood really churning out the same movies, with the same stories over and over, revolving around men?? Yes, yes and yes. Geez, it’s called diversity, Hollywood. 

This “One Man” movie trailer supercut video posted on Upworthy (and sent to us by the fabulous writer Soraya Chemaly…thanks, Soraya!) splices together clips from trailers containing voiceovers. Watch it…

…and you’ll notice a disturbing trend. 
It’s all about THE MEN!!! 
Men saving the world. Men doing what no one else can. Men, men, men. Oh yeah, and it’s almost exclusively white men. Sure, two women do make an appearance as the focus of the narrator — “one reporter” and “one woman,” aka Linda Fiorentina … in one frame holding panties. But in that sea of men, seeing only two women doesn’t really cut it. Men are not the only ones whose stories are worth telling. They’re not the only ones making a difference or saving the world. But you’d never know it.
Writing about the video, Joseph Lamour said, “This montage of movie trailers may seem like just another funny supercut, but to me it plays like a highlight reel for what’s wrong with American cinema.”
I thought it was a bit strange that all the movies in this video are about 20 years old or older. But has that much really changed? Of the top 250 grossing films in the U.S. in 2012, 9% were directed by women and 15% of the scripts were written by women. Of the top 250 films, women comprise 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors. Only 33% of speaking roles in movies belong to women.
You might also be thinking, “But these are just trailers. Who cares about the trailers??” But movie trailers, just like advertising in general, affect us. As I’ve written before about the prevalent sexism with Super Bowl ads: “Most people think they can ignore ads or that marketing is harmless. But advertisements splatter across billboards, buses, magazines, TV, radio and the internet. In Jean Kilbourne’s groundbreaking book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, she argues sexist and misogynistic imagery bombards us, inundating our senses even on a subconscious level. Whether we realize it or not, ads impact our choices and views.”

When we see movie after movie, ad after ad, revolving around men, it implies and reinforces the message that women don’t matter as much as men.

We talk A LOT at Bitch Flicks about the need for more women in film. More female protagonists, heroes, anti-heroes and villains. More films passing the Bechdel Test. More films focusing on mothers and daughters, sisters and female friendships. More female directors and screenwriters. More women of color. More queer women. More women of different sizes, ages, socioeconomic statuses, personalities, etc, etc, etc. More, more, more. We desperately need more.

Listen up, Hollywood. We’re tired of the same shit. We want to see more of all of our stories reflected on-screen. Not just white dudes.

  • Great piece, and hilarious (in that sort of dark, “oh god, my culture is terrible” way) video.

    Even though I work full-time in an industry dedicated to pushing a particular form of media on the public, the book, I’ve reached a point of heroic masculinity saturation. I can’t, in good faith, recommend books to customers featuring yet another long-suffering heroic male protagonist, whether it’s a much-lauded contemporary novel or a fun genre romp.

    I did watch, over the weekend, Side Affects, which had a very strong female cast in Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It wasn’t a perfect progressive movie, but neither is my new love, Netflicks’ Orange is the New Black.

    Like you say, I’m tired of the “same shit.” No matter how much beautiful CGI you throw at me, it doesn’t cure my want of a mega Summer blockbuster female-led superhero franchise or the suspicion that if Star Trek was about the heroic, life-changing female friendship of a woman and her female first officer, it would never be made.