The Dammit Ratings

It’s 2016 folks. So I introduce the “It’s 2016, Dammit!” ratings, or just the Dammit Ratings, which look at how well writers and directors create stories for the modern world, particularly in the US. Since film and television seems to seems unable to fully shake stereotypes, I suggest we start giving points based on how well they adhere to the modern American world.

Female characters

  • Add 1/2 point for intelligent and capable female characters
  • Add 1 point if they are a principal character
  • Minus 1 point if the only female characters are support staff, girlfriends, or wives
  • Minus 5 points if there is violence against women
  • Minus 10 points if sex is depicted as violent
  • Minus 10 points if a female character is kidnapped, restrained, or tied up

African Americans

  • Add 1 point for one African American character
  • Add 5 points if there are two or more
  • Add 2 points if they are lit properly
  • Minus 5 points if any are criminals or live in the ghetto
  • Minus 2 points if they have a long-lost brother/son that’s a criminal
  • Minus 5 points if an African American female character is overweight and sassy

Latinos

  • Add 3 points for a Latino character
  • Add 5 points if they are a principal character
  • Minus 5 points if they are a maid, gang member, migrant farm worker or in the drug trade
  • Minus 2 points if they are undocumented

Asian Americans

  • Add 3 points for an Asian American character
  • Add 5 points if they are a principal character
  • Minus 10 points if they are an analyst, mathematician, or some type of mute ‘genius’
  • Minus 10 points if male characters are asexual
  • Minus 10 points if female characters are power-hungry or cold

LGBT characters

  • Add 5 points if there’s an LGBT character
  • Add 5 points if there’s more than one
  • Add 2 points if the character is a lesbian
  • Add 5 points if she’s non-gender conforming (doesn’t wear makeup and dresses)
  • Add 10 points for a transgender character
  • Add 5 points if there’s an LGBT principal character
  • Add 5 points if they are shown with a partner
  • Add 5 points if they kiss onscreen
  • Minus 5 points if their character revolves around being a woman’s best friend
  • Minus 10 points if they are an interior designer or hairdresser

Arabs/Middle Easterners

  • Plus 10 points if there’s an Arab character, with an Arab/Middle Eastern name
  • Plus 20 points if they are a woman who wears a head scarf
  • Minus 15 points if they’re a suspected terrorist

Africans

  • Add 5 points for an African character
  • Minus 15 points if they only wear ‘tribal’ clothing

Asians

  • Add 5 points for an Asian character
  • Minus 10 points if they’re in the mafia
  • Minus 5 points if they make sushi or swords
  • Minus 5 points if they are a music or math genius

Autism spectrum

  • Add 5 points if a character is depicted having autism or Asperger’s
  • Add 5 points if they are a principal character
  • Minus 10 points if they are weird or funny

The ratings system may be a bit complicated, but it boils down to whether people are shown as real people, not tired clichés. There’s no need to do tons of arithmetic in the theater, but rather to start thinking about who’s onscreen, why and how. And most of all, to encourage filmmakers and showrunners to create their great stories using characters that aren’t lazy stereotypes.

Did I miss anything from the list?

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