The F-rating doesn’t give an F-word about movies
The movement towards creating explicit codes of behaviour for every aspect of life – especially the messy bits about sex – welcomes the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which is now using the ‘F-rating’ to signal films of a feminist type. This is “so [viewers can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera.” It is “applied to all films which are directed by women and/or written by women and/or have significant women on screen.”
That part about ‘significant women’ opens up a few issues, not least of all when it comes to grot movies, especially the girl-on-girl sort. The F-rating might not be the best guide to family entertainment or indeed anything approaching entertainment of any strain. But, then, the F-rating is not about films; it’s about educating the masses and turning people – wonderfully complex humans – into quotas. The official F-rated website explains the vision:
‘The stories we see on screen need to be told by a broad spectrum of people to represent our diverse culture. Without change, we will train the next generation to only recognise white males as the protagonists and the ones in control of the cameras, scripts and budgets. As well as equality on screen and behind the camera, more female film critics from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities need to be welcomed into the industry so that opinion and feedback is balanced.’
It’s certainly not about viewers, many of whom are women. It’s about gender. The thinking is that female film fans go to the cinema not to seek escapism but to reaffirm their identity. You’re not watching them; you’re looking at yourself. But you’ve already got free use of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to gawp at idealised filmic versions of yourself, so why spend good money on watching a narcissistic film?
Note 1: If equality is the mantra, then the IMDb could look at itself. According to Wikipedia, the IMDb ‘originated with a Usenet posting by British film fan and computer programmer Col Needham entitled “Those Eyes”, about actresses with beautiful eyes.’ Col is a white male – and since he flogged the site to Amazon, a very rich one.
Note 2: Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, a rich white male. Amazon Inc. has 7 ‘Officers’. All are white. One is a woman. Amazon has 11 directors – 9 of whom are male. Should businesses get an F-rating, too – and if so would the IMDb warrant one?