Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Nude Behaviour

Casting: 'The series will be aimed at the male 18-35 market and as such our series will have a sexy look.'

I think it’s safe to say that that particular casting call is offensive to just about everyone. This casting is for a film being made which clearly thinks it’s being revolutionary by casting four women in the title role where they all get to play crime-fighting ‘badasses.’ And this should be fine. But aiming it at men? Putting the word ‘sexy’ in every single sentence? Suddenly the good intentions don’t seem so wonderful.

 There has been a lot said about the treatment of actresses in the last week. Firstly Equity spoke out about how theatres need to be doing more to ensure that castings are a bit more equal and don’t just give men-folk the spotlight. Then there was Sarah Woolley’s excellent article on sex scenes which you can read here:

Now I’ve talked a lot about the amount of nudity that women seem to have to partake in, especially on film. Just this morning I’ve read at least ten casting calls that have asked for women to either be beautiful, sexy or nude. That’s the role women have to play now. Of course, I realise that I’m generalising and I know that there are lots of lovely, intelligent parts being written for women too but you have to admit that the facts are there that are women are often expected to be the pretty ones while the men carry the story.
The constant call for nudity is a very worrying development. I’ve appeared naked on screen once, something I’ve spoken about before on my blog (but I’ll re-cap as I’m too lazy to find the post I mentioned it in.) It was while I was still at drama school and my director wanted me to go full-frontal but after a discussion that seemed to contain very little regard for my welfare or modesty, we finally came to a ‘compromise’ where I was allowed to keep my knickers on. Looking back I wish I’d asked for more but I was young and desperate to show the world that I was the ultimate in castable actresses. This should never have happened. Where were the tutors making sure that we all knew that our acting was enough to get us through this industry? They were nowhere to be seen. Despite only being a slight little thing back then, I spent the next two weeks barely eating as I was so terrified of the world seeing an ounce of flab on me. The scene was the first scene to be shot meaning that I was an absolute bundle of nerves. We were working alongside a film school so the crew was made up of people I’d never met before and it just so happened that the whole crew that morning was entirely made up of men who were much older than me. By the end I was a lot more comfortable but it’s not an experience that I’d ever want to relive again. What should’ve been a supportive environment while I was still training instead felt like a seedy experiment in how to make a newbie actress feel as awkward as possible. 

Of course, the problem is, as I’ve said before, that there still aren’t enough female writers and directors out there who are being given the opportunity to get their work made. Until television, theatre and film open their doors a little wider and let the ladies in too, women will constantly be relegated to playing ‘The Love Interest’ or the ‘Eye Candy’ or just ‘The Girlfriend.’ Despite the fact that women make up 50% of the population, we’re very much the supporting role when it comes to what audiences watch. Women have lead countries, they fight wars and they’ve made groundbreaking scientific discoveries. They write some of the most stunning things the world has ever seen and have written and sung some of the most beautiful songs that we’ll ever know. However, because women also happen to be bloody gorgeous and the men got in there first to write things and market things and produce things and direct things, we’ve been left to play the attractive set-dressing. 

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a naked prop while men get to have all the fun. Us girls just wanna have fun too, ain’t that right, Cyndi?

No comments:

Post a Comment