Film producer Ross Putman has read thousands of scripts during his career, and he's noticed a disturbing pattern: Screenwriters keep introducing their leading female characters as sex objects.
Some of the introduction lines are so ridiculous, Putman told Jezebel, that he had to vent about them on Facebook to stay sane. Then he realized there were so many of them that he wanted to start a Twitter account to keep track of them and publicly call out the problem.
Women are described first and foremost (or only) for how beautiful they are, how sexy they are, in what peculiar ways they are beautiful or sexy, how their beauty and sexiness shines through their sadness or bad clothes, or how they are beautiful and sexy yet also intelligent.
Putman changes all of the character names to "Jane" to minimize embarrassment to screenwriters, but otherwise quotes the screenplays verbatim.
Some descriptions are indistinguishable from cheap erotica:
JANE stands next to it (30's) dressed in a paramedic's uniform - blonde, fit, smokin' hot.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE, a 19 year old Bunny girl - honey-blonde farmland beauty queen.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
Others make women three-dimensional by noting that they can be sexy, yet also "adorable" or "athletic":
A gorgeous woman, JANE, 23, is a little tipsy, dancing naked on her big bed, as adorable as she is sexy. *BONUS PTS FOR BEING THE 1ST LINE— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE, 28, athletic but sexy. A natural beauty. Most days she wears jeans, and she makes them look good.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
Beauty conquers all, even sadness or science:
JANE is in her mid-30s and attractive, even now with dark semi-circles underlining her closed eyes.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
JANE (late 20s) sits hunched over a microscope. She’s attractive, but too much of a professional to care about her appearance.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
Like draping the Venus De Milo in a burlap dress, Jane’s sensational natural beauty fights through her plain blue Ann Taylor outfit.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
Fight, sensational natural beauty! Fight for your life!
It's fun to laugh at the bad writing here, but after a while it becomes sobering. Remember: These are supposedly lead characters. But they're introduced as objects of sexual desire first, and people with real lives and motivations second — if at all.
At Slate, Christina Cauterucci brilliantly imagines what it would look like if male characters were treated the same way. Come for the "as quirky as he is adorable" Marty Baron, stay for Obi-Wan Kenobi's "thick, pleasure-ready fingers."