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Image / Editorial

One Dimensional Female Characters

17th Dec 2014

black and white meryl streep portrait

The comedy crew at Saturday Night Live are at it again. This time, they’re poking fun at the many one dimensional female characters in male driven movies. You know, the ones who eat pizza and drink beer yet maintain the body of a rabbit food eater (confusing, right?), the ones who wear glasses which of course means that men just don’t notice them. That is, until they later take them off and life as they knew it changes forever. Yep, it’s all very familiar.

This sketch comes at an interesting time, just as those controversial Sony emails have been hacked and made public for all to see, in which women including Angelina Jolie are described in less than favourable terms. The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin was also one to have his alleged words made public. In short, Sorkin makes the point that Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep are the only female actresses who come close to the level of talents displayed by their male counterparts. Writing to a New York Times journalist, Sorkin says:

“That was a great and very interesting column today. I’d only take issue with one thing and that’s the idea that something like Bridesmaids is seen as a fluke and that’s why we don’t see more movies like Bridesmaids. ?There’s an implication that studio heads have a stack of Bridesmaids-quality scripts on their desk that they’re not making and it’s just not true. The scripts aren’t there.”

“That’s why year in and year out, the guy who wins the Oscar for Best Actor has a much higher bar to clear than the woman who wins Best Actress. Cate gave a terrific performance in Blue Jasmine but nothing close to the degree of difficulty for any of the five Best Actor nominees. Daniel Day-Lewis had to give the performance he gave in Lincoln to win. Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook, in which she did what a professional actress is supposed to be able to do. Phil Hoffman had to transform himself into Truman Capote while Julia Roberts won for being brassy in Erin Brockovich. Sandra Bullock won for The Blind Side and Al Pacino lost for both Godfather movies. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep can play with the boys but there just aren’t that many tour-de-force roles out there for women.”

What do you make of Sorkin’s words?