Damsel in distress
A recurrent pattern in movies ?

🚀 Introduction

An evildoer has kidnaped the princess! Will someone save her? ..... Pheeew, her saviour, naturally a man, is on his way to rescue her and defeat her evil captor. How would she have escaped this dangerous predicament otherwise, as helpless as she is? Needless to say, our hero needs to be rewarded for his unsolicited good dead. A kiss shall suffice. Seems familiar? The trope of the damsel in distress is particularly recurrent and present in stories throughout history. From Andromeda in greek mythology, passing from the princesses in the Grimm fairy tales, to Lois Lane that needs constant help from Superman, women always need men to take care of them. They are useless on their own. Ah.., what would women do without men?

More generally, women in the media are often portrayed as passive participants of narratives. They are only tools to provide motivation and purpose to the lead male character. Moreover, even though they represent more than half the population, they are underrepresented in movies. Indeed, only 34% of speaking roles in the top-grossing films of 2021 were given to women. In addition, about 85% of these movies featured more men than women that year. Women tend to have more personal-life related goals, whereas, the life goals are much more work related, as shown below. [1] Besides, the female characters in movies tend to have less pivotal roles than their male counterpart. This speaks to a major issue in society at large. Indeed, the prospects of women in today's society are still limited. Gender stereotypes are still rampant, even though a shift of mentality is happening.  We see more and more women in diverse fields and in positions of power. But do we also see this improvement in women's conditions in movies? Are they portrayed differently now than previously? In particular, do they have more power to determine their own fate or are they still only tools to drive male characters' plotlines?