Three simple criteria for movies - this opened my eyes! I'd been unaware of how under-represented women are in movies. It seems women mostly appear as unnamed extras, unimportant by definition.
The Bechdel Movie test is just
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it2. Who talk to each other3. About something besides a man
IconsFewer than two women in this movieThere are two or more women in this movie, but they don't talk to each otherThere are two or more women in this movie, but they only talk to each other about a manThere are two or more women in this movie and they talk to each other about something other than a man*
Here are a few that surprised me:
The sick part is that most "chick flicks" don't pass this test.
Huh? Why did The Hobbit surprise you? It's an adventure story set in a medieval world, in which most women didn't have much of a role in society, outside of the home.
You shouldn't be so surprised that most period movies won't have much in the way of female characters, much less interesting interaction between them. It kind of sucks, but women were treated like shit throughout most of civilized human history. You're only likely to get anything in a period drama with a female protagonist. Like I said in my first comment, the sad part is that even those sometimes fail the test.
Personally, I've been pushing for more real female characters in video games. I'd love to see a female protagonist in a Grand Theft Auto game, for example, and have e-mailed them about it. For most story elements in a typical GTA storyline, the sex of the protagonist isn't a major factor, and I think writing one around a strong, female lead would be awesome.
You wouldn't even have to adjust things much, for the dating component of the game. Just introduce lesbian options to the dating pool, and make any storyline love-interest a bit more ambiguous. Gay guys and women can hook up with the male love-interests, and men and lesbians can go for the female ones. Bisexuals can ... well, do whatever they're in the mood for, at the time.
I like how you aptly stated "most of civilised history". This is very true... civilisation equals patriarchy and religiosity. Before that point in history, before males discovered that patriarchy and religion could dominate and hold power of large swaths of people, the relationships between males and females were much more equality based, AND they spent much less time in each other's intimate company.
To ondoe sexism in this world takes much more than removing white Jewish males from Hollywood, and it takes much more than equality in the work force. To unravel sexism means to unravel several thousand years of "civilised" thinking. That is a mighty task. For what is civilisation other than a stiff male rule of law dominating extremely large masses of H.sapiens?