There were three movies that I wanted to see over winter break. Of those three, two featured a male lead and one featured a female lead. One out of three does not seem like a problematic figure, but unfortunately, when one takes more than my choices into consideration, the statistics become concerning.

According to a CNN article written by Lorenza Brascia, only 18 percent of the 50 top grossing films of 2014 featured female leads. Women make up roughly over 50 percent of America’s population, and, according to Brascia, provide box offices with most of their sales as well as lead the charge in social media promotion of films.

Without women, film revenue would be drastically lower and a far less dominating feature in our society. So why does the film industry continue to release just one movie with a female lead in comparison to several more movies with male leads?

We not only need to see more women as leads in general, but we need to see them in roles that reflect how strong, powerful and independent they can be. We need to see women on our theater screens as intelligent leaders, ambitious students, powerful superheroes and many more roles that are continually dominated by men.

I do not want to see another women searching for the love of her life in order to complete her family fantasies. Do not misunderstand me – there is nothing wrong with having that kind of fantasy. Wanting to get married and have a family is a wonderful thing. However, choosing to mainly cast female leads in that type of role is confining women to a stereotype that does not reflect an entire population.

Despite the large discrepancy in male and female lead roles in film, there has been some progress made in recent years. Movies such as “Gravity,” “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” trilogy – all of which feature women as incredible heroines – reflect a changing perception of women. However, the movie industry still has a long way to go. Chick-flicks cannot be the only genre of movies portraying women in leading roles. If they are, then we have a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

In the upcoming year, I hope we will start to see more characters like Dr. Ryan Stone, Tris Prior, and Katniss Everdeen who can show the children who go to see these movies, boys and girls alike, that women can be inspirational main characters. Girls need women like these as their role models, and boys need them so that they will always have respect for the women in their lives.

These boys and girls are the next generation, and it is vital that they learn from a young age that women are important enough to be on movie posters and DVD covers doing more than just chasing after a man. The media is a powerful force in our society, and I believe that a shift towards featuring more female leads in complex roles in movies could be the beginning of a decline of sexism in our society.

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