Have you ever got halfway through watching a film and realised that – wait a minute! – there are hardly any female characters and all they’re doing is looking attractive and chatting about their relationships with men?
Unfortunately, far too many films still portray women as appendages, not least because the vast majority of them are still written and directed by men. (In 2013 and 2014, just 6.4% of Hollywood films were made by women, according to a survey by the Directors Guild of America.)
But now there’s a new way to uncover feminist films before you waste an evening watching something that makes you die inside.
Film information site the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which has more than 250 million monthly visitors, has begun using an ‘F-Rating’ to classify and support films that portray women positively, and highlight the lack of films written and directed by women.
The F-Rating was introduced by Holly Tarquini, director of the Bath Film Festival, in 2014 and has been adopted by more than 40 cinemas and festivals in the UK, the BBC reported.
To be given an F-rating, a film must either:
• Have been directed by a woman
• Have been written by a woman
• Or show significant women on screen in their own right and pass the Bechdel test
“The F-Rating is a great way to highlight women on screen and behind the camera," said Col Needham, the founder and CEO of IMDb.
21,800 films have been awarded the F-Rating so far, according to Tarquini, including favourites such as American Honey, Frozen, and Bridget Jones’ Baby, which have earned a ‘triple rating’ as they meet all three criteria.
Other F-Rated films include Metropolis, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Girl on the Train, Freaky Friday, Animal Farm and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
"The F-Rating is intended to make people talk about the representation of women on and off screen," said Tarquini.
"It's exciting when new organisations decide to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries, when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women," she added.
"But our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-Rating is redundant because 50% of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film's unfairly under-represented half of the population – women."