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Katniss Everdeen, the screen character from Suzanne Collins novel trilogy, "The Hunger Games."

Katniss Everdeen, the screen character from Suzanne Collins novel trilogy, “The Hunger Games.”

The Swedish Film Institute and the Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film plans to start using a film rating that highlights gender bias. To get a rating of “A” a film will have to have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Harry Potter films don’t qualify for an “A” rating but the Hunger Game series do.

“Point of View” is one of the heaviest hitting expectations of the Ontario curriculum. It is an integral part of the language, social studies, media literacy and drama curriculum from kindergarten to grade 12. To graduate all students are required to read and write about point of view and be able to grapple with multiple perspectives. The new Swedish film gender rating provides an interesting point of discussion. Here are some ideas that you might try in your classrooms:

  • Have pairs of students each pick 5 films list the gender of the top three characters. Have a class discussion about the results.
  • Have pairs of students make lists of all the most famous film protagonists they can name. Have a class discussion about the discrepancy in numbers between males and females.
  • Analyze and draw conclusions about the lack of female characters and stories portrayed in film. What might be the societal effects caused by the dearth of female film characters and stories in our culture?
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