Recently, a Twitter challenge gone viral prompted women to tweet excerpts from famous male authors describing women in cringe-worthy details as a pointed joke at the male literary gaze.
Then, women started to describe themselves as they imagine a male author would.
Now, Vulture has taken that critique one step further with a look at how 50 famous women characters are written in their screenplays.
The results will likely not surprise you.
“Not the best-looking girl in her class but definitely in the top five,” wrote Kenneth Lonergan of the main protagonist in “Margaret.”
Here’s how Sally is introduced in the screenplay for “When Harry Met Sally”: “She’s 21 years old. She’s very pretty although not necessarily in an obvious way.”
Some introductions are invariably worse than others. James Cameron gets creepy when writing the heroine of “Avatar.”
Quentin Tarantino describes one of the first characters in “Death Proof” as “a tall (maybe 6 ft.) Amazonian Mulatto goddess walks down her hallway, dressed in a baby tee, and panties that her big a-- (a good thing) spill out of, and her long legs grow out of.”
Women characters written by women have less sensuous details ascribed to their characters. Nancy Myers wrote of Meryl Streep’s character in “It’s Complicated,” “Jane is mid-50s and has embraced that fact. She knows 50 is not the new 40 and because of that, she is still described by all who know her as beautiful. Everything about this woman’s appearance screams ‘solid.’”
You can read – and cringe – through the list of 50 screenplay descriptions here. In a way, this exercise makes a good argument for elevating screenplays and stories by women since female characters tend to be less sexualized before they’ve had a line of dialogue when written by women.