“This is my advice, two easy steps: Before you cast, go through names and make them female to really see which characters need to be men. Then the crowd scenes, make those half female. Just by doing those two things, you have more nonstereotypical characters.” – Geena Davis on how to address gender inequality in Hollywood
We love this quote from Geena Davis and her ongoing pursuit of supporting more gender balance in the media industry. Re-examining all characters and stereotypes from a gender perspective is a great place to begin.
And when it comes to genre, there are so many archetypes of this kind that are baked in through pop culture history; character stereotypes or tropes are part of every horror, sci-fi, fantasy and thriller story. They are part of the appeal and also part of the opportunity. Flipping the gender on these genre archetypes is something that happens all the time in fan communities, where “gender bending” is a big part of the art and cosplay, like this re-imagined “avenger” from a Hungarian teenager on Tumblr:
Our challenge, not only to our screenwriters and contestants, but also all genre fans is to re-envision the character archetypes found in horror, sci-fi, fantasy and thriller. Flip male for female and vice versa. Create your own (maybe it can be the inspiration for your Halloween costume!) or share ones you find.
We will be rolling out what we find each week and look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Here are some genre character tropes to get you started:
Detective – Evil alien – Evil overlord -Fairy royalty
Ghost – Good alien – Henchwoman/sidekick – Knight
Mad scientist – Magician – Monster – Monster hunter
Robot – Scary clown – Serial killer- Space captain
Space thug – Superhero -Thief – Time traveller
Vampire – Warlock – Werewolf – Zombie
And here’s another video to get you thinking – “If Women’s Roles in Horror Movies Were Played by Men”.
Happy bending & happy Halloween!
By Annelise Larson