I just watched a screening of a film that featured an older female lead who — don’t faint now — actually has a sex life. Why is this so shocking that I’m writing about it this week? Well, it’s part of a change in Hollywood, that, while going far too slowly, is actually, finally happening. We’re starting to see things that are actually true in the world reflected on screen.
This year we got the news that Marvel and DC have female-led superhero films coming up, as well as more women on the teams. As if — I don’t know — women are half the population or something. “The Hunger Games” is ending its wildly successful four-film run this fall. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is debuting at the end of the year. We have “Trainwreck,” a rom-com turned on its head. (What? Ladies can like sex and it’s not a big deal? No!) Charlize Theron and Sigourney Weaver are kicking (and about to kick) ass on the big screen. It’s like Hollywood thinks that women watch things now.
Put these things out and they seem normal. Show older women with a sex life or a female character that is free with her sexuality and don’t treat that like it’s a bad thing, and attitudes slowly start to change. It starts to seem “normal.” Sure, “mens’ rights” groups freaked out about Theron as the main focus of “Mad Max,” but it didn’t exactly have issues at the box office. We see a fantastic transgender actress in “Orange is the New Black,” and we start having actual discussions about gender and what it means instead of pointing and saying “I don’t get that.” However, if Hollywood doesn’t do it first, changes come slower.
I was recently joking about a Hollywood type who was overheard to claim that this blockbuster movie he was producing was “saving lives, man.” Ah, the ego in this town, sometimes. But, actually, sometimes these things do change lives. My niece is going to have a lot of heroines to look up to when she gets older, and so is her little brother. Some young kids aren’t going to have to explain what transgender is to their parents. When I’m 60, the idea that I still like sex isn’t going to shock anyone.
What I’m saying is that the more risks Hollywood takes, the better things are for all of us.