Where Are All the Female Protagonist Movies?


Update: Wild is now showing in my town. I like to think I had a tiny little something to do with it… but I probably didn’t. But I do think little actions, even brief phone calls, can make a difference. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to seeing Wild for a long time, the movie starring Reese Witherspoon, based on the book about the journey of a woman hiking alone for 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.  Why are there not more movies like this? Where are all the female protagonists in movies?

The movies release date is tomorrow so I called my local Carmike theater to find out if it will be showing. They said it will not. So I called Carmike Cinema’s headquarters stationed in Georgia and left a message for someone at the top rungs saying I’d like to file a complaint and that I’m sick of so few female protagonist movies coming out. I said that I wanted to see Wild in my town. I got a call back, and to the guys credit he was very nice. But he said they don’t have much control of which movies are shown where, apparently, and that it depends on movie promoters and other people to decide if movies will make it past the East. Basically, it would be unlikely Wild would make it out here.

According to a study done by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D who conducted a content analysis of 2,300 characters present in the most popular movies in 2013, there were only 15% of protagonists who were female. In 2002, only 11% of protagonists were female. (Lauzen, 2014.) This is not surprising considering, how infrequently we see female protagonists.

Women make up about half of the worlds population. Call me crazy, but I kiiiiinda want to see them in movies, besides being sexual bodies draped across men. I want to see women in movies acting like, I don’t know, the real and varied people they are, with depth, strength, faults, failures, triumphs and accomplishments. Media is such a huge part of our society and it’s about time women are represented in real ways.

I’m grateful for the few movies out there with a strong female character with depth, but they’re few and far between. We’ve just got to keep pushing for female protagonist films.


1.) Lauzen, M. Martha, Ph.D. 2014. “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013” Retrieved December 4th 2014. (http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/files/2013_It’s_a_Man’s_World_Report.pdf)

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