How Would You Describe Jane?

How Would You Describe Jane?

Female characters in movies are often portrayed as beautiful, attractive, with a massive amount of sex-appeal. And that’s it. Their character rarely extends beyond these physical attributes. Even those illustrated as powerful are more often than not portrayed in tight-fitting outfit while fighting in stilletos and rocking flawless hair that stays flawless at all cost. Because really, even when you’re saving the world, to appear sexy is more important than anything else –it’s non-negotiable. This seemingly ridiculous but proven depiction of women made apparent when Ross Putman, a movie producer, pointed it out through his twitter account @femscriptintros.

In his account, Putman rewrite the movie scripts he read at the part where a female character is introduced. All the names are changed to Jane in order to protect the character’s identity. Although all these times the Bechdel test did quite a good job on spotting inequality in movies, through Putman’s tweets, it is made clear that the measure is not enough. It is because sexism lies even before the actress starts conversing, before she is dressed, and before her very existence in the silver screen. It  lies in the script, the essence of who the character is. Here are some example of the tweets.


It is evident that female are described in an over-simplistic ways that focuses on their external attributes. Their other aspects, in other hand, like their personality, toughts, and  strengths left unconsidered. But although it has become vastly common way to describe women, as slate illustrated to further exposing the inequality, the same descriptive sounds bizarre when used to describe male characters.

• A vision in brown robes that caress his shapely curves, OBI WAN strides toward LUKE, placing his thick, pleasure-ready fingers over LUKE’s eyes before revealing the supple visage beneath his hood in a rapid striptease.*

• New Boston Globe editor MARTY BARON, as quirky as he is adorable, gazes through spectacles and a fringe of sultry lashes. His muscular, feline torso is poured into a “fuck-me” button-down.

• All conversation stops, all eyes turn to look JED BARTLET up and down. Though he’s an alluring, auburn-locked looker, he will let slip a few crucial bits of knowledge from inside his pretty little head.

jittery enough?

To help screenwriters put an end to overly simplistic female characters before they even write them, wired contacted Putman to create a test they called "the Jane Test" which consists of questions such as:

  1. Does The Introduction Focus on the External Attributes of the Character?
  2. Is She a Twenty- or Thirtysomething?
  3. Is She Dating Someone Decades Older Than Her?

And if the answers of all three are yes, for the sake of more objective and more realistic depiction of women in the movies of the future, they suggest any scripwriters to rethink the character.

Sources: Wired, Slate
Image via: This dark matter

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