Geena Davis’s Two-Step Cure for Hollywood Sexism

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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Geena Davis, actress and founder of her own Institute on Gender and Media, has a two-step fix for turning run-of-the-mill Hollywood sausage-fests into female-centric classics like A League of Their Own and Thelma and Louise. Or, at the very least, her guidelines should ensure movie sets provide an equal-opportunity work environment and prevent, as she put it, “enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space.” Davis revealed the secret to gender parity in The Hollywood Reporter (h/t Jezebel). It goes:

“Step 1: Go through the projects you're already working on and change a bunch of the characters' first names to women's names. With one stroke you've created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they've had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it's not a big deal?”

No need to ask, What if? Gender-swapping roles was proven not to be a big deal for Angelina Jolie in SaltJodie Foster in Elysium and Flight Plan, and Sigourney Weaver in AlienVantage Point, and The TV Set. Step two is to make sure the extras aren't all men, either. As far as quick fixes for sexism, this strikes me as a better plan than using Pantene and saying, “Screw it.”