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Alternative Narrative

The place of a woman is in the kitchen – final

The place of a woman is in the kitchen – final

After commercials and cartoons for kids, it is now time to talk about one of the most important cultural influencers ever… CINEMA!

We all know that Hollywood is powerful all around the world so let us keep focused on American production and trust me, we have a lot to talk about! After the scandals related to gaps in salaries between men and women or the sexual complaints, stars, directors and technical staff are now turning the eyes of the world to sexism and inequality. In the third and last part of this series of articles, I am bringing more than this. I want to show you that sexism on the big screen is much more than this… it always exists because cinema is the fictional representation of society. Let us start in the classics…


This can be a good title for the next James Bond movie. Attending to the actual context of the industry, it is relevant, do not you think so? Let us see… James Bond is known for fighting the worst villains in the world always with lots of British glamour and accompanied by beautiful ladies. I believe he is ready for such a challenge. The “Bond Girls®” are very useful for the MI-6 because they are multi-function: shields, they relax and help the agent when he is not acting 100% and sometimes they can bring important information for the operation and guess what… everything is for free! They are essential! Nevertheless, it is very hard to memorize their names!

This image of women is the worst part of Bond’s world, for me. It is a clear objectification of women that the agent – maybe because he is a gentleman…disguise with ultra-fast love! Bond, it is time to retire the Bond’s Girls or to give them a proper and fair role. You can shine anyway… Talking about Bond Girls, it takes me to something like:


These can be 3 of the adjectives to describe a Bond Girl, but this is not just for the James Bond friends. It is the way the general cinema is portraying the “correct” women image. Let us see:

In the image, we can verify how Hal, from “Shallow Hal”, sees Rosemary and how she looks in real life. The love disaster, the character of Jack Black was hypnotized in order to just see the inside beauty of the girls so, to make it work, all girls look pretty from the outside. During the movie, he finally can flirt with a woman with success; the right image Rosemary. 

All movie is full of jokes about the contrast of how she acts as a very fat character and what Hal sees. But, what I see, is a terrible movie without any sense of respect. Humor is important, humor is a weapon but the full story is nothing more than a superficial fake romance that shows how women should be in a physical way in order to catch the man’s attraction. Of course, because that is just what matters.

We can keep talking about the pressure that the cinema puts on society in creating the patterns of the perfect and loveable body in women… it can take to the “wake up, six” in “The Devil Wears Prada” and many others. But I prefer to imagine how the movies would change if all the “perfect” girls in the cinema industry were completely the opposite… and natural! Oh, wait! I think they know…


The thousands of movies about the transformation of the ugliest duck into the most beautiful sawn of the lake are now one of the biggest clichés of the teenagers’ movies. Do you remember the 1999 “Never been kissed” with Drew Barrymore? Or Anne Hathaway’s success “The Princess Diaries”? Both are based on visual transformation. They suggest that women need to change and get into beautiful patterns in order to achieve love, friends, success…also, check the scene from “She’s all that”:

Because the majority of the audience is young, it helps to create the idea that just a small part of the girls are able to achieve good things and can promote bad feelings among kids. It also passes the idea that the inside beauty does not matter even if you are an adult or a teenager. Talking about teenagers, check the next point:


I personally remember the huge success of “Mean Girls” of 2004 and I remember to watch it at the age of 7 years old, think how bad (to avoid a non-acceptable word) girls can be to each other. It was a surprise, but I accepted. Is this true or just a stereotype, girls? I hope you answer the second option because if not, and attending the number of problems related to the movie, I am forced to move to the next two points…



At the beginning of the Millennium, Jennifer Lopez was staring a new movie: “The Wedding Planner”. The romance is all about the wedding (like many others launched around those years) and that helped to portray girls, around 30 years old, as crazy wedding hunters and planners. Come on girls, try to think about something else! Hmmm, maybe…


…can also think or talk about clothes, makeup, shoes, men and all these “women things”. For many, Sex and the City are a fun romance and a scream to feminine freedom and expression. For others, the movies are all about stereotyping women as human beings with futile minds. I believe women are powerful and there is no need to generalize what they should or should not like or think. Let us be reasonable, different women identify with different things. If they talk a lot about the topics previously mentioned it does not mean that they are not good thinkers. However, the stereotype can be easily found in other movies and series shaping aggressively the presence of the character. 


Submissive. Easy going. Innocent. All different perspectives that commercial cinema loves to share about women. In the 1984 classic “Revenge of the nerds,” it is easy to understand how innocent and blind women are for the author. There is a scene where one of the nerds acts like another boy using a face cover to flirt with a girl. They end up together, alone, and she just finds who he really is laying down. This scene always was controversial because it represents a clear scene of rape and reinforces the idea that girls are easy going and promote abuse. In this movie, the situation is used as a humoristic moment. So funny!…

In the controversial “50 Shades of Grey” and the huge success “Twilight” – both extremely famous but in different ages – we can see clear psychological abuses, manipulation of minds or violent stalk done by the male character. I really hope such practices are not so usual inside the author’s marriages. Together, during these three articles, we explored several examples to prove that stereotypes about women are present in our daily life, even when we do not pay attention to it. The easy acceptance of such messages can help to spread it and to shape minds all around.

Nowadays, our points of view of the world are constantly under challenge… do not let such generalizations and unsubstantiated beliefs influence you. We all deserve better. Help me fight this problem. Having a critical mind you can open your arms to tolerance, respect, and freedom, use it and do this exercise in music, journalism, art… Because my grandmother talks about everything she wants, my mother cooks or cleans when she wants and my female friends are very nice to each other… I want you to know that a stereotype does not define you… so it cannot define them.

Ricardo Leitão