BY EMILY BRANDYBERRY
Flipping the script on gender
Over the past 10 years, the amount of female leads in movies has increased dramatically. The movie industry has taken giant leaps in the age of feminism.
“Women in movies now play a more substantial role rather than playing an over-sexualized, ‘damsel in distress’ type character,” said Jessica Reber, 11.
Prior to this decade, viewers were accustomed to seeing females in films that centered around a powerful leading male.
The Hunger Games series was a major step for women in cinema. Jennifer Lawrence starred as Katniss Everdeen in the four movie franchise that highlighted the struggles of an underprivileged girl who becomes a tenacious, independent character and the leader of a revolution. Unlike most action movies, Lawrence is the leading character whereas actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth have supporting roles.
While a select few Disney movies have been female oriented, such as Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, they have taken a huge step in the 2010s to empower women and young girls. Top films such as Frozen and Moana teach women that they do not need a stable male to save them.
“Elsa and Anna were game changers. To have two women express their sisterly love proved a wonderful moment for Disney and the film industry,” said English teacher Nathan Singleton. “No longer must love be only amorous.”
Marvel has also made giant leaps when it comes to establishing powerful women in society. Women took the leading role in Marvel’s Captain America and Captain Marvel, both being featured on the big screen in the past five years. Captain Marvel was even the first Marvel Comic Universe film with a solo female lead.
Not only have major film enterprises stepped away from the typical male dominated roles, but so have individual films. Both Hidden Figures and The Post finally put the accomplishments of women that have not been seen before in the spotlight.
Hidden Figures highlights the efforts of three African American women who helped calculate the mission that sent John Glenn into space. It shows the struggles that the women went through to try and gain acceptance in a white, male dominated field. In the 2017 film, The Post, Katharine Graham becomes the first female publisher of The Washington Post. Like the women in Hidden Figures, she faces much adversity and clashes with her male counterparts.
Prior to the 2010s, seeing women playing courageous lead characters was virtually unheard of. Rather than seeing these women on the big screen, they had to be read about in books, as that was the only safe place for them.
However, the film industry took the world by storm in this decade by shredding gender stereotypes in cinema, finally showing women that they too can be powerful and have a voice in this male dominated world.
Science Fiction: defining a decade in film
While the 2000s were dominated by fantasy from Lord of the Rings kicking off the decade to Harry Potter ending it, the 2010s ushered in a new era of film: Sci-Fi.
This decade boosted the genre which first gained popularity in the 1960s with Fahrenheit 451 and Planet of the Apes. This time, the film industry combined the classic style with a new one.
“Marvel tweaks their characters to appeal to a larger audience while Star Wars stays with the weird and outlandish,” said JD Webb, 12
After taking a 10 year break, the Star Wars saga made a roaring comeback with Star Wars: The Force Awakens which quickly became the fourth highest grossing film of all time making $1 billion in only 12 days. The franchise would continue its success by releasing five more films throughout the decade.
Despite its major prosperity over the past five years, the end of the decade brings with it the end of an era. The final installment of the 9-part Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will fittingly be released December 20, 2019, only 11 days before the decade comes to a close.
Along with Star Wars, the 2010s hosted a plethora of superhero movies from the ever so popular Avengers series to stand alone films such as Captain America and Iron Man. Since the release of Iron Man 2 in 2010, Marvel Studios has released 21 additional films centering around the company’s most popular characters.
Although Marvel will continue to release movies well beyond this decade, it did bring an end to the Avengers series in 2019 with the release of Avengers: Endgame. It became the highest grossing film of all time, generating about $2.8 billion while in theaters.
These types of films have defined a decade and in doing so have defined a generation. Today’s teenagers have grown up in a world of science fiction which has given them a safe haven from the dark world they face everyday.
“It has given a lot of people role models,” said Cole Points, 11. “They are taught that even if things get tough there is always hope and a way to stand up against those who try and push you down.”