In the early days of cinema, female characters were limited by several gender-based stereotypes. This affected the type of roles they were offered and their salaries as well, which were significantly lower compared to their male counterparts. More than a century has passed since establishing Hollywood as the cradle of the American film industry. However, part of the gender-based stereotypes remains unaltered.
20th Century Brought Changes
On the one hand, starting from the 20th-century world was hit by various social movements of women’s rights and their role in society. Emphasizing the need for alteration in socially accepted gender norms. So it became much harder to silence, repress, and misrepresent women until it even became impossible in some countries due to new amendments in regulations. With feminism gaining momentum in Hollywood, male actors also started to speak out about the importance of placing women equally with men.
What Are The Stereotypes Addressed To Female Characters in Hollywood?
As a result of all of these, the stereotypes surrounding a female character and an actress standing behind her have been changing, but there is still a lot until we reach the full-scale change. A few of the many stereotypes of the female characters include the inferior nature of the roles women undertake since women mostly play supportive roles for the male character and don’t have an in-depth or separate storyline. Oversexualizing women and putting emphasis on their appearance instead of their intellectual capabilities are another common stereotype that still has not been left in the past and haunts the film industry. Almost all of the casting directors are more demanding towards female characters about their age or appearance than they are to male actors. The stereotypical nature of casting actors vs actresses can easily be a material worth dedicating a book to, so we won’t go into it in detail.
Malcolm & Marie
Talking about age and stereotypes finally brings us to the main point which is the yet unreleased movie featuring Zendaya and John David Washington called “Malcolm & Marie”. This is the first movie that has started and finished filming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going back to the stereotypes there are aspects that still need to be solved and in this case, it’s not only the movie industry that should be blamed but the audience as well. The release of “Malcolm & Marie” is planned for February, but the trailer became available a few days ago and it got people talking about, wait for it, the age difference between two characters. The trailer depicts the theatrical nature of the movie with the scenes unfolding in one house, and the movie shot in black and white indicating that the exterior of the movie is of secondary importance. Hence, the characters and the plot-line of the movie are the central points of the movie.
This is where the stereotypical impossibility of a female character steps in. Zendaya (24) who is much younger than her male colleague John David Washington (36) is thought to be a little too young for such a dramatic leading role of a female character according to some fans. Older male figures are considered sexy and attractive, while older women are considered the total opposite of that. On the other hand, society views young females in a positive framework, but the gender-based stereotypes hunt this group of women as well. This is one of the many stereotypes that young women can not pull off strong female character. You might think that talking about such details based only on the trailer is immature, and there is no denying the fact that the movie will have the final say on the performance of the actress. However, this reaction of some part of the audience indicates that in some instances stereotypes can be ignited by the audience themselves, and henceforth people receive the product they deserve to get.