What Makes A Good Female Character?

When Women in Film, an organization of industry women in Los Angeles, instituted The Luminas Awards for the positive depiction of women in media, they spent much time developing and clarifying the criteria for the awards.

  • Do you agree with the following guidelines?
  • Is anything left out from your point of view?
  • Tape your favorite television show and then replay it in class or with a group of friends.
  • Discuss each of the women characters in turn, using the seven criteria adopted by Women in Film.
  • Make a copy of the criteria (including any criteria you want to add to the list) on a card that you can carry in your bag or purse. The next time you go to the movies, read the card before the film starts in order to remind you of what to look for as the movie unfolds. After the movie, use the card to discuss the film story and the female characters with your friends.
    1. Women are multidimensional and are seen in a variety of societal and personal relationships.
    2. Female characters reflect the age, race, socio-economic class, physical appearance and occupations present in society at large.
    3. Development of the story reflects changes in women characters' attitude, behavior and inner purpose, thereby affecting the outcome.
    4. They overcome victimizing circumstances through their own volition (not merely by rescue by male characters.)
    5. Production provides insight, new awarensss and role models of social contributions made by women.
    6. It recognizes the significance to women of issues such as power, money, politics and war. It also acknowledges the universal significance of such "women's issues" as family planning, childcare and equal opportunity, and of social problems such as rape, incest or abuse.
    7. It demonstrates that sexuality and loving include intimacy, warmth, caring and understanding and are enjoyed by women of all ages.