Grading Hollywood: The Representation Test
In an effort to change the limiting culture of Hollywood, which continues to fail to represent the full spectrum of humanity, we’re proud to introduce The Representation Test – a media literacy tool that grades films on how well they challenge the status quo.
The test gives films points for representations of people which avoid harmful and limiting stereotypes, as well as for having diversity behind-the-camera. There are 27 possible points in the test, but any film scoring 11 or above receives an “A” for representation.
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While we’ve developed this test in hopes of encouraging films to be as inclusive as possible, we realize films which pass – or even those which get an “A” – may still have substantial issues. The test is not meant to be all-encompassing, but rather a way to empower consumers to make more informed choices about the films they choose to support – and to provide a guide for those in Hollywood in charge of future productions. That being said, we would love to hear your suggestions (in the comments) as to how we can improve the document. We plan to regularly update it based on feedback!
It’s important to note that characters in a film, like real people, can inhabit multiple categories of description. For instance, if a protagonist is a woman of color, then you would check two boxes – one for a protagonist who is a woman, and one for a protagonist who is a woman of color (if the depiction avoids stereotypes) – and the film would then receive points for both.
Looking at this year’s Oscar nominees, none would get an “A” grade and The Wolf of Wall Street nearly fails the test (getting just one point for avoiding perpetuating extreme and unhealthy body ideals for men, which may even be up for debate).
Use this to start conversations this weekend around the Oscars, in your classrooms, at the dinner table, your office or whenever you see a film! Together let’s amplify the dialogue around representation on screen and challenge Hollywood to make some changes!