15 Ways Hollywood Misrepresents Women

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A woman sits on her couch in sweatpants, hair in a messy bun, binge-watching her favorite show after a long day. This is a scene we’re seeing more of on screen, but it’s only a small glimpse into the complex lives of women. While movies are making strides in representation, there are still countless ways they miss the mark.

Hollywood’s portrayal of women often falls short of capturing the full picture. These misconceptions not only shape how we see women on screen but also influence our perceptions of women in the real world. Let’s take a closer look at 15 common things Hollywood gets wrong about women.

They Can Run in Heels


Running in heels is a recipe for tripping or even breaking your ankle, but not according to Hollywood. Hollywood thinks women are born able to outrun danger or chase down a taxi in six-inch heels. We all know stilettos add a touch of elegance to any outfit, but running with them? They are not made for speed.

The Cool Girl Enjoys Football

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The cool girl trope, a label often used to describe women who enjoy male-oriented interests like football, beer, or cars typically, is a tired and limiting stereotype. The entertainment industry often struggles to portray multifaceted female characters, instead favoring one-dimensional archetypes that have historically been popular.

They Have Perfect Bodies


Nine months in and nine months out is cute, but birthing a child is a wild ride. It’s living life all over again with a new body and new experiences, and Hollywood fails to acknowledge that. Hollywood moms are back in bikinis days after giving birth, while real moms rock their postpartum bodies, some with stretch marks and others having added a few extra curves.

They Don’t Have Dreams Beyond Being a Dream Girl

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Movies are getting better at showing women who have more going on than just chasing after guys, but frequently, they fall back into old habits. Even in movies with strong female characters, there’s often a love interest thrown in. It’s like the loudest message is that a woman isn’t complete or fulfilled without a partner. In real life, though, lots of women are happy and doing great on their own or have other things they care about more than romance.

They Tear Each Other Down


Hollywood often paints a picture of two strong women as rivals, constantly trying to tear each other down to get ahead. But this isn’t always the case in real life. Even though relationships between women can throw many challenges and conflicts, their friendships, more often than not, remain a central and supportive force in their lives. They rely on each other’s strengths, forgive each other’s mistakes, and ultimately work together to overcome obstacles. 

They Change Instantly 


Women magically transform from pajamas to dazzling evening gowns in the blink of an eye in the movies. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t struggle with a stuck zipper or a tangled necklace? Wardrobe malfunctions happen, even to the most glamorous among us. Hollywood does not show us the natural process, the frantic search for the right shoe, the last-minute lipstick application, and maybe even a minor panic attack before stepping out the door.

They Wake Up Perfect


In various films, women wake up looking effortlessly glamorous, with perfectly styled hair and flawless makeup — this idealized image rarely reflects reality. In real life, women experience a range of morning appearances, from messy bedheads to puffy eyes, often accompanied by a desperate need for caffeine. Even though some films and television shows have begun to include more realistic morning-after scenes, the perfectly polished wake-up remains a persistent trope in many depictions of women on screen.

They Don’t Matter


Movies love the sassy best friend, always ready with a witty comeback or a shoulder to cry on. But they rarely get their own stories or a chance to shine beyond being the comedic sidekick. In real life, best friends are complex characters, too — dynamic people with dreams, ambitions, and struggles.

They Don’t Need to Eat

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In Hollywood, a woman daintily picks at a salad or doesn’t appear to eat at all, and sometimes a glass of wine is sufficient, all of which is a tired cliché. In reality, women have appetites, pizza and burger cravings, and everything in between. Real women enjoy food for sustenance, pleasure, and connection.

They Need Saving


Movies have loved showing women as helpless damsels who need a man to rescue them. Think of old princess movies where the woman waits in a tower for a prince to come and save her. But newer movies are changing that.

They Cry Rivers


Breakups are tough, no doubt. But Hollywood often paints a picture of women in tears and despair, drowning their sorrows in a pint of ice cream; okay, let’s be honest here: this is necessary sometimes. However, real breakups aren’t just about the tears. They’re about blasting empowering playlists, leaning on friends, rediscovering hobbies, and embracing a new chapter.

They Expire After 40


Movies seem to think women have a best-by date. Once they hit a certain age, they’re relegated to playing mothers, grandmothers, or the occasional quirky old lady. However, real women retain value and interest in life as they age. They have stories to tell and experiences to share, and they can be just as dynamic and captivating as their younger counterparts.

They Cannot Have It All

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The entertainment industry often portrays women facing an impossible choice: a fulfilling career or a passionate love life. But in reality, it’s not an either/or situation. Women are capable of excelling in their professional lives while also nurturing meaningful relationships. This false dichotomy perpetuates the idea that women must sacrifice one aspect of their lives to succeed in another, a narrative that is both limiting and untrue.

They Struggle with Tech

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On the screen, we often see women struggling with technology as if they can’t use a computer. But in real life, many women are tech whizzes. They’re building apps, designing computers, and running tech companies. Showing women as clueless about technology isn’t just wrong; it can also discourage girls from thinking they can be good at tech, too.

They Need Makeovers to Be Supermoms

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The big screen often shows moms getting a glamorous makeover after having a baby. But in the real world, motherhood isn’t about looking perfect. It’s about sleepless nights, messy buns, and spit-up-stained shirts. It’s about the love, laughter, and chaos of raising a family.


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