Ricky Gervais: female characters often treated as props in film and TV
The creator of Derek says Hollywood portrays women as air heads or so ambitious they “need to be taught a lesson”
Ricky Gervais has spoken out against the treatment of women in film and TV.
In an interview with RadioTimes.com, the comedian and creator of The Office spoke of his disappointment at the way females are often portrayed on screen.
“I love writing interesting female characters because usually they’re props, particularly incomedy,” he revealed. “Even in Hollywood, they’re usually air heads or if they’re ambitious they’re straight away cold and need to be taught a lesson. They need to show that getting a man is more important than getting a career. Or they’re just props for men to do funny things.”
According to Gervais, Hollywood has it all wrong. “People think that men rule the world but they don’t, really. That was never my experience growing up and certainly not at Broad Hill. Men, when they’re together, revert to the playground.”
Our stories are maps of the heart. They can expand our worlds and our perceptions of what's possible, pointing us towards a greater humanity. Or they can lead us into blind alleys, contracting our perceptions of ourselves and others, narrowing the way we think and make decisions.
Our point of view shapes the stories we tell, and the way we create, convey, critique and reward those stories. The writers, producers, actors and directors who create the vast majority of films and many televisions shows (and the critics who assess them and the organizations who reward them) don't reflect society’s diversity of gender, culture and sexual persuasions. The vast majority of movies are straight white male stories with male actors conveying a man’s point of view and female actors conveying a man’s point of view, etc.
Currently, the straight white male almost always gets roadmaps to heroism, adventure and fulfillment, while those of different gender, cultures and sexual persuasions may be directed into a dead end of limitation and demeaning stereotypes, if not ignored entirely.
Maps of the Heart honors those storytellers who have an inherent GPS for humanity and diversity, perhaps because they know the way by heart (including many amazing straight white males, like Joss Whedon, Steven Soderbergh and Steven Spielberg).