It matters. Stories matter and who tells them and how we tell them matters. We’re breathing them in, they’re everywhere around us.
94% of women working in film have experienced sexual harassment or assault.
99% of women in the media have experienced sexism.
It’s people working in the media who create the media. It’s obvious that the more inclusive and accountable they are the better for all of us. Our storytellers are the people who reflect life back to us, who create a narrative of the world we live in. We’re all watching, we’re all taking in the information on our stages and screens, from the books we read and the stories around us. We’ve all seen reports of a ‘lovely family man who accidentally murdered his wife, in a moment of madness’ or the ‘rape of a childless divorcee who regularly hooked up with men she met online.’
Sexism and stereotypes impact on us consciously and subconsciously – creating expectations of what it means to be a woman (mother, sex worker, secretary) or a girl (pig tails and pink).
The Bechdel Test
The Bechdel Test is 3 checks for film and media – Are there…
- More than two women.
- That speak, to each other.
- About something other than a man.
It’s shockingly unsurprising how few films actually pass this test.
The Solace Test
We don’t want to stop being entertaining, and we don’t want to stop telling stories about violence against women and girls – we just want to ensure that they’re not prurient or exploitative and that we’re not adding to the problem. And part of the problem is that we’re absorbing misinformation.
Research shows that in all 10 of the rape storylines in the first ten seasons of NCIS (100% of episodes) were found to blame the woman or girl for her rape.
Victim blaming is a huge problem, and we believe a key part of why so many women feel shame about experiencing abuse, and feel fear about talking about it or asking for help.
With that in mind we’ve come up with the Solace Test:
If you’re writing about VAWG…
- Is it needed? (does it drive the story?)
- Is it truthful? (are you adding to a cultural lie about VAWG)
- Is it victim blaming? (don’t do that)
International Women’s Day 2023
International Women’s Day 2023, we came up with the Solace Test as part of our “Not Here for Your Entertainment” event hosted at Rich Mix Cinema. The full panel discussion from this event is now up on our YouTube channel. Check it out below.
Do you work in media? Help us spread awareness of our Solace test.
For more information on how you can get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org