We know women in Hollywood aren’t treated as fairly as their male peers and the Tumblr The Headless Women of Hollywood illustrates this sexism all-too-perfectly through something as simple as movie posters. Standup comic Marcia Belsky of New York began the blog earlier this month to show just how many popular movie posters depict women from the neck down — or even less.
Posters like this can seem as though women in the film are bodies for objectification, rather than a character with thoughts, feelings, or a purpose other than sex. As Marcia explained in an interview with HelloGiggles over email, “What mostly inspired the project was a combination of things I learned in school about the consistent fragmentation and objectification of women’s bodies, and then the frustration of still seeing these images of headless women everywhere.” Mostly, she wants men and women to be more aware of “the normalness of decapitating women. But, I wanted to do it in a way that would make us laugh as we sobbed at the sheer tragedy of it all.”
On the About page for the blog, Marcia wrote that removing a woman’s head makes her an “unquestionably passive object to the male gaze” and we can’t help but agree. After scrolling through so many examples, the women stop being women and instead become a collection of body parts that still manage to project a single message: sex.
“Further, facial features are the way we recognize other people,” she continued. “It’s the face that makes us individuals. That too is taken away, and we are taught that all women, especially ones that match the ideal, are the same and interchangeable.”
Marcia isn’t the only one who is concerned: She said that in the few weeks that The Headless Women of Hollywood has existed, other women have reached out saying they love the site. She told HelloGiggles:
We’re can totally relate. And the reason you may not have noticed this before, Marcia explains, is because it’s (unfortunately) something we see every day. “We are made numb in pop culture to female bodies remaining background to male-centered action,” she wrote. “A right for men to focus on or ignore, but always there if and when he so chooses. And always there explicitly, first and foremost, for his intent.”
Seeing objectified images of women’s body parts affected Marcia as she was growing up, she told HelloGiggles, explaining:
In addition to The Headless Women of Hollywood Tumblr, where the project is taking submissions from other movie-goers, Marcia also has a Twitter account where she continues the discussion. It’s super disheartening that there are so many examples of headless women on Hollywood posters, but projects like these are the first step towards change. We think Marcia puts it best when she wrote, “DAMNIT, HOLLYWOOD!!! WE WANT HEADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”