Skip to main content

Stephenie Meyer and Women in Movies

stephenie-meyer2

Did you guys know Stephenie Meyer is a movie producer? Since she finished writing her Twilight series, she has started her own production company and produced several movie adaptations, including the two Breaking Dawn movies, The Host, and, most recently, Austenland.

I am not a fan of Twilight. The books have an addictive quality to them, and it’s awesome that lots of people find a lot to love in them, but the series has many problematic elements that make me beyond uncomfortable. When reading them, I had to resist literally throwing the books against a wall on numerous occasion because of how horrified I was by what I was reading.

But after Stephenie Meyer was interviewed yesterday in Variety, I’ve been doing a little research on her work. And, you know, she’s actually pretty awesome. And she’s doing a lot for women in the movie industry.

She founded her production company, Fickle Fish, in 2011 with another woman, Megan Hibbert. Of the four movies she’s produced since then, three have been written by women. Austenland has two female writers, not including the author of the original novel. Austenland was also directed by a woman (another rare thing). And all four movies have a female protagonist. That’s an impressive record, considering that only 11% of movies have a woman as their protagonist. Women are only 18% of all directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors, making up only 15% of writers in total, and only 9% of the directors of top 250 grossing movies.

With these statistics in mind, Meyer’s track record is impressive. She not only proved that a series of movies aimed solely at women can be a massive blockbuster success, but has also now attempted to expand on that success by bringing other stories about women, written by women, and directed by women to the screen. As well as Austenland, she’s currently optioned two books — Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Both books written by women. Both books that will be exposed to a wider audience by the simple fact that Stephenie Meyer optioned them, and both opportunities for more stories about women to hit the screens.

No matter what you think of her own books, that’s pretty good work.

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

4 thoughts on “Stephenie Meyer and Women in Movies

  1. Somehow, I’m not as enthusiastic. Not only was Twilight really bad (albeit addictive, as you say!), I believe it also has the power to make some damages. I’d stay it’s looking at the right direction if Meyer helps out other women, but I’d actually like to see the projects involved first to make sure it’s actually a step forward. If they end up a sexist or racist or anything-ist (not to say that either of these terms are the same thing, but they share being hurtful and problematic), then I won’t be able to rejoice. In fact, it’s even worse, since Meyer will help to their realization.
    I do think it’s quite telling about the place women hold within the entertainment industry though: that it’s so bad we’re desperate to find anything or anyone who is not a cis, straight, white male, and consider it a step forward.

    1. I agree that Twilight had the power to be very damaging, especially because of how abusive Edward’s behavior was. I’m really glad that Twilight fever seems to have died down, and that books with less worrying (although still not perfect) messages and relationships have taken over as Most Popular YA instead. But I think there’s a difference between someone’s *work* being problematic, and someone being problematic themselves. These ideas are so pervasive that it’s easy for them to seep into someone’s novel and go unnoticed for what they really are. I don’t mean that books should get free passes, or that authors shouldn’t be expected to think critically about what they’re writing and the messages their books carry. But I do think that it’s possible for Stephenie Meyer as a person to be a lot less problematic than the series she created, and if she’s moved on from those books and is working to do something positive for women in the film industry, I want to highlight that as well!

  2. Actually there is one positive thing about Twilight… it flagrantly panders to the female gaze, and this is what makes men uncomfortable (not the domestic violence/stalking aspect). It’s kind of nice to see a book that focuses male physical beauty the same way that so many book focus on female physical beauty.

    1. Right! It just makes me sad that the popular books that do this (I’m thinking Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey) tend to combine bad writing and really horrible, controlling, abusive stalker guys. Fingers crossed that the next swoon-worthy megahit loses the controlling boyfriend figure at least…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *