An initiative on Media content labelling

An initiative on Media content labelling

After the Gender Equality conference organized by Eurimages’ Gender Equality Study Group in Budapest (March 17) several threads of discourse were set off, one of which lead straight to a discussion as to how to set up a complex media labelling project. This is one of the follow-on threads to that conference.


What the Swedish Film Institute did was to apply one of the “harshest” and most effective means by which pro-society organizations can defend society, that is, LABELLING. The Bechdel Test provides us with a simple “yes or know”, “passed or failed” kind of value which will inform “users” (people) about such basic characteristics of the given film that will fundamentally influence their decision on whather or not to take that product. It is a  sort of “stamp” on the given product, revealing some of its most basic characteristics which normally would go without being noticed. Feminine or non-feminine? Or rather, traditional (non-feminine) or progressive, i.e. feminine?

The Swedish Film Institue’s “rating” is already a breakthrough. Movie ratings have been so far a privilege of the top of the film industry, that is, the MPAA. If you haven’t yet seen the “This movie is not yet rated” than you may not have seen the big picture at all. Movie ratings, rating the movies have been the privilege of a given country, e.g. in Hungary there’s a media authority monitoring all aired media content. They label the media content on the basis of sex and violence, basically. Needless to say that they flag sexuality without it being violent . They also draw attention to nudity too.

Some furher strategic steps

Media Content Labelling is a vital need for our cultures, for our societies, otherwise it’d be exclusively the commercial interests which form our culture and what’s in our heads – which latter directly influences our behaviour.

The next move should probably be adding another value to the media content ratings which informs us whether or not that piece is influencing our behaviour or reality perception in a damaging way, as much as causing perhaps behavioural disorders.

And there could come medium labeling too, on the basis of which medium is feminine-friendly, in terms of their published contents and their hired workforce.

Gender equality in media does not only bring “equality” but all those positive outcomes and further influences on our cultures, on our societies too which would never be possible without gender equality.

Gender equality and the "feminine" awareness pertaining to media content are not good just for women but for the whole of society. Everybody would profit from it, our societies would be healthier and happier. Film would be better, tv couldn’t be that destructive anymore which will result in a new era in which people might watch some tv (so it’s even commercial interest).

Last, but not least, we should keep in mind that the Bechdel Test which serves as the basic for this whole cultural and social breakthrough, is not just a joke, moreover, it actually originates in a Virginia Woolf thought in the A Room of One’s Own (as the pointed it out.
“And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends. [...] They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men. It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen’s day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex. And how small a part of a woman’s life is that.”

Now, the next few moves seem to be:

# get the Bechdel test rating into effect in art movie theaters (following the example of Ellen Tejle’s art cinema, the Bio Rio in Stockholm). This will create opportunities to spread information about the whole idea, the goals and principles of the movement, and by that to become a driving force of social progression.

# develop another another test, a more complex one which can give a clue on how non-feminine a given movie is ... this value could have like 3-4 different digits (being 3-4 dimensional), each of them ranging 0-10

# get the movie databases, including not only Rotten Tomato and IMDB, but Wikipedia too, to co-operate by making these ratings appear in their ratings’ sections ...
# set up an alliance, based primarily on the Swedish Film Institute and EWA, and extend it, and create a website where these ratings could be edited and monitored and disputed (collectively, in wiki style).

# get press, starting with The Guardian, to make the Bechdel Test ratings appear along their movie reviews

Read more here