The Internet Movie Database, popularly known as IMDb, has adopted a feminist ‘F-rating’ to draw attention to any films written by, directed by, feature significant women on screen in their own right, or any combination of those qualifications.
So far, over 21,000 films have been tagged, including movies like “Bridget Jones’s Baby”, “Joy”, and “Trainwreck”.
Also included are “Kung Fu Panda 2”, “The Girl on the Train”, “Freaky Friday” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.
The project is seemingly a work in progress, as films like “Rogue One” and “Hidden Figures” have not yet been given F-ratings on IMDb.
The new ‘F-rating’ was originated by U.K.’s Bath Film Festival executive director Holly Tarquini, who was herself inspired by the Bechdel test – which requires a movie to have a scene with at least two named female characters discussing something other than men.
Taking a hint from that concept, Holly created her own rating to highlight women both onscreen as well as behind-the-scenes.
She noticed less than 5% of that year’s top 250 films were directed by women.
She began using the F-rating alongside the typical forms of movie ratings at her festival, according to the campaign’s website. It has since been adopted by other festivals.
“It’s always exciting when new organizations decide they want to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women,” Tarquini said in a statement back in January. “But our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-Rating is redundant because 50% of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population: women.”
The specifics of the classification look at writers and directors as well as complex female characters who are large contributors to the story. A triple F-rating is offered for films that have all three.
The rating has been adopted by more than 40 film festivals and individual cinemas.
IMDb has already applied the F-Rating to more than 21,800 films, including the likes of
Frozen, American Honey and Bridget Jones’s Baby head up the list of films that have achieved the triple F-rating.
Holly said, ‘It’s great that you can now use IMDb to browse films directed and written by women.’
She added: ‘This is important because films by and featuring women often have significantly less spent on promotion, so they are more difficult for audiences to find.’
While having the rating recognized by such a well-regarded informative website is a step in the right direction, Holly hopes that one day it will become unnecessary, when true gender equality is achieved.
Those administering the Bechedel test say that such equality may be on its way, with more and more films being released that meet the requirements. As proof of it, more than half of the top-selling films in 2016 managed to pass the test.