31 Days of Watching Women

I have decided that in the month of July, I will only be consuming media where 50% (or more) of the cast is female.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

I did a quick survey this morning to see which of my recent favorites would be set aside for the month. This project eliminates pretty nearly all of the podcasts that I listen to, most of the television shows I watch, and the vast majority of the movies in the theater right now. I immediately sank into a funk.

When I announced this project on Facebook, my pal Jason asked where I drew the line. My kneejerk reaction was to say that the cast which appears in the opening credits, but after talking with Jason and Matt, I’ve decided that this isn’t a very good measure. Depending on how the show does the credit sequence, the cast list could have more to do with popularity or how good of an agent the actor has, and not much to do with how prominent her character is.

The Sapphires

The Sapphires

IMDB’s cast listing is a better measure for television shows, since it lists characters by total number of episodes they appear in, but that still didn’t feel…right.

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife

What these lists don’t take into consideration is whether the show really has anything to do with those characters—whether they are central to the story or strictly supporting roles.

Bomb Girls

Bomb Girls

Keeping in mind of all of the above, I’m going to go against my nature and ditch methodology altogether. I won’t be counting names and running numbers. I will be looking to the stories. For a month, I want to consume media which is actually about women, in equal balance to stories about men. As much as possible, I want to consume current media, so no falling back on episodes of Buffy. (I will watch reruns of Parks and Recreation, because I would be doing that, anyway.)

I wonder how I will feel at the end of July. I wonder if I’ll be able to go back to listening to and watching mostly men, day in, day out. It should be interesting. I’ll tell you about it in a month.


31 Days of Watching Women — 10 Comments

  1. Very interesting idea. I love Call the Midwives! I just watched Top of the lake on Netflix. Lots of men in it, but strong female lead

    • Winnie: I have been putting off the Top of the Lake finale because I’m so attached to the characters.

  2. What a great idea! Call the Midwife is on my to-watch list.

    Suggestions: Bob’s Burgers (both daughters are fantastic characters), Downton Abby, Rosemary and Thyme (two middle-aged women who solve crimes), and Orphan Black (science fiction).

    • Molly, I think you’ll really like Call the Midwife. Adding Rosemary and Thyme and Orphan Black to my list…

    • April, I love Amy Schumer! And Tig Notaro, one of my absolute faves, was a writer for this show, so I’m sure it’s 100% up my alley. Really looking forward to it.

  3. Oh Joanna, I like you so much. This is such a wonderful idea. I saw a new thread on the PPK about podcasts by women, and realized that most of my podcasts are by men. And TV too! I like the idea of looking for plot lines about women, and not just with female decor. I don’t know if you’re into sports at all, but there is one more week of Wimbledon, and women’s tennis is definitely the most rewarding women’s sport out there. The players are totally respected as athletes, and they even have male commentators on women’s matches. (implying that not just women care about women’s sports). Musty got me into tennis, and I’m just casually interested, but it’s cool to see sporty passionate women athletes. I love this idea and I love you. Oh, also, what about the Fresh Air podcast with Terry Gross, I love that one!

    • Amey: I could not love Fresh Air more. I like to let several episodes accumulate on my iPhone and then binge on them. :)

      I’m not really into Wimbledon, but I do love roller derby and will be watching as much of that as possible!

      Thanks so much for your support, Amey dear!

  4. I absolutely love this idea. I can’t wait to read your thoughts about it once the month is over. As an avid reader, I’ve always wanted to do an entire year where I read nothing but women writers.