"Behind a steamy shower door is the indistinguishable but sexy silhouette of Jane showering." So reads one introduction for a female character in a screenplay, according to a Hollywood producer who has begun sharing some tidbits of sexism from the scripts he reads every day.
Female writers, actors and directors have complained about gender discrimination in the industry, but producer Ross Putnam started the Twitter handle @ femscriptintros Tuesday to highlight just how pervasive it is. The handle tweets out the ways that women characters are introduced in movie and television scripts, which are startlingly ageist, sexist and objectifying. In his tweets, Putnam changes all the character names to Jane.
Here are just a few examples:
Taken together, these descriptions demonstrate how difficult it must be for actresses to find robust roles — or at the very least roles where they're treated as more than sexual objects — a problem highlighted with this year's Oscar nominees. The movies up for best film were once again overwhelmingly male-led. Women seeking Oscar-worthy material can rarely dig up roles as brilliant politicians, scientists or adventurers; frequently, they must settle for supportive wife or ingenue. And even those roles apparently demand sex appeal.
Relegating women to sidekicks in heels is just part of the larger problem of sexism in the industry. A study released Tuesday revealed only 33% of speaking roles in films are given to women. Women directors and writers struggle for the same opportunities offered to men, and women in Hollywood are still paid far less than their male counterparts.