The online movie database IMDB announced plans to highlight the film industry’s dismal gender parity problem in one swift move: adding the letter F to films made by women.
The rating system is straightforward. Films either written or directed by women receive an F-Rating. Films also receive an F-Rating if they “feature significant women on screen in their own right.” Some movies, like 2013’s “Frozen” or 2016’s “Bridget Jones’ Baby,” received a triple F-Rating on IMDB for fulfilling all three categories.
“The F-Rating is a great way to highlight women on screen and behind the camera,” IMDB founder and CEO Col Needham told the BBC.
The rollout seems to still be in progress, as the rating does not yet appear on profiles for some films. For now, the F-Rating can be found by searching the IMDB reference page, the Guardian reported. More than 21,000 films have been tagged.
IMDB did not respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.
A key point of the system is to make films made by and about women easy to identify.
“The F-Rating is applied to films by cinemas and film festivals giving movie-goers an easily identifiable label so they can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera,” reads a message on the initiative’s website.
“Highlighting these films sends a clear message to distributors, producers and funders that women can and should have more than just a supporting role within the industry,” it adds.
Research shows that women are under-represented and misrepresented on screen as well as behind the camera. In a 2016 Ted Talk, leading diversity and media researcher Stacy Smith outlined the data behind Hollywood’s gender problem and provided solutions.
Smith put part of the onus on consumers. “If we want to see more films by, for and about women, we have to support them,” she said. “It may mean going to the independent movie chain instead of the multiplex. Or, it may mean scrolling down a little further online to find a film by a female director ... We need to make our voices heard and our dollars count.”
IMDB will make it a little easier for audiences to support films made by and about women.
Check out Smith’s Ted Talk in its entirety below.