Emma Watson and Geena Davis recently sat down for a chat about feminism. The Harry Potter and Bling Ring star has expressed that her view was never about putting men down: It’s about lifting women into equality.
It could be argued that Marvel and DC have made strides toward opening up roles for women, with Arrow featuring a rather female-heavy roster of side characters, and Jessica Jones being one of the few female Marvel superheroes ever to reach a spotlight. Even the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made some strides toward gender and other forms of equality, with Captain Marvel and Wasp being among the first female comic book heroes to be named in a major motion picture title. Iron Man 3 even had Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) save the day instead of the titular hero.
That’s only the surface, though, and Emma Watson and Geena Davis’ feminist agenda has opened eyes about how far inequality still reaches. Davis looked into the data on past roles and created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which focuses on the problem more closely, and might even help find a solution, she says.
“It wasn’t so I could go educate the public, really. It was so I could go back to the people in the industry and present it to them and say, ‘See, it really is still a problem.’ We go meet with every studio, every guild, every network, every production company and share it with them, privately. I don’t really bust anybody publicly. It’s much more efficient if I can impact the creators. So that’s what we do. It’s had a great impact.”
Emma Watson and Geena Davis may just be doing it right. They’re aiming more at writers, producers, and the people in control.
Watson explained her reaction when the data on gender gaps was revealed.
“If you’ve been sold the line that gender equality is something that is solved, and that we now live in an equal world and this has all been tackled, you’re not looking for it in the same way. I would say there have been different stages of my feminist awakening. The more layers you peel back and the more things you’re made aware of, you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ “
Geena Davis is planning on furthering Emma Watson’s goal by creating the Bentonville Film Festival, an event where women will get more of a chance to shine alongside their male counterparts, which begins next week. It will aim specifically for diversity, so filmmakers and writers will hopefully include more women in the future of cinema and other media.
While Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters will make a whole new team of all women the focal point, remakes and reboots might not be the solution that Emma Watson and Geena Davis are looking for. Creating new roles for women and people of more varied cultures may just be the key.
— Vulture (@vulture) April 28, 2016
According to Emma Watson’s research, she says the types of roles could use more variety, especially in family films. She stated that from 2006 to 2009, G-rated films featured so few women that male roles outnumbered them three to one. Emma Watson and Geena Davis are hoping that not only more roles will be created, but more female scientists, politicians, and people of renown will be created or represented in media.