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IMDB Adds New 'F for Female' Rating to Highlight Women in Film

This well-timed new feature lets you search by female director or female protagonist.

It's 2017, and cinemagoers are about to see their ninth Batman movie in less than three decades — and, a few months later, their first live-action Wonder Woman film. Whether you love them, hate them, or don't mind them but are starting to get sick of a new one coming out each and every month, this year's comic book flicks highlight a disheartening point: gender equality and filmmaking really don't go hand in hand right now.

Alas, the situation doesn't just apply to those fond of wearing capes and lycra. In general, watching movies about women, featuring significant roles for women, and/or made by women isn't as easy as it should be. When it comes to representing half of the world's population both in front of and behind the camera, saying that the film industry has plenty of room for improvement is both a massive understatement and a case of stating the obvious. If Hollywood isn't going to do any better, however, then the Internet Movie Database is going to do what it can to shine a light on the female-focused flicks that audiences can see.

Enter the F-rating. Contrary to everything that the school grading system has made you believe, it's actually a good thing. Movies rated F boast a considerable contribution from women, be it writing, directing or acting in a sizeable part (no, playing a wife on the phone doesn't count, no matter how often great actresses are forced to do just that on screen). The rating was created back in 2014 by Bath Film Festival's Holly Tarquini in an effort to help viewers choose to watch movies that do more than give ladies a supporting role. Tick all three boxes, and a feature will receive a triple F — and a big thumbs up, representation-wise.

At the time of writing, 21,890 films have been given an F-rating on IMDB, with users able to search for relevant titles just by ticking a box. Alas, searching is the only way to find the rating, which doesn't appear on IMDB's movie landing or keyword pages, but it's still a giant leap in the right direction.

Or, as Tarquini sees it, it's hopefully a step on the path to better representation overall, rather than needing to actively let audiences know which female-focused films they should be seeking out. "I hope that the F rating will become redundant as the stories we see on screen reflect our culture, and that 50 percent of the stories we see [will be] told by and about women." she told The Guardian. Damn right.

Via Vulture / The Guardian. Image: The Runaways.

Published on March 08, 2017 by Sarah Ward

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