Entertainment

How Come Hot Bitches Never Get Enough Screen Time?

Who are these women? Give them their own damn films!
Trinity in "The Matrix"
Warner Bros. Pictures

I have a bone to pick with Hollywood. No matter what I watch, no matter the genre, the cast, or the film itself and whatever accolades it may have accumulated, there’s always something that has left me yearning. And I’ve finally figured it out.

The hot bitches never get enough screen time.

I came to this pivotal realisation while watching the Matrix, again. It was my third, maybe fourth watch, and, now comfortably familiar with all the twists, turns, glitches and revelations, I was free to really contemplate what it was that compelled me to return to this movie, and others like it, time and time again. 

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The answer came as I tuned out yet another of Neo’s iconic action sequences: I was there for Trinity. Trinity alone.

You were too. There’s no use lying to me, or yourself.

From the moves to one-liners to the goddamn fits: The Matrix would be nothing without Trinity. And yet… we barely get a glimpse of her.

trinity in the matrix

Warner Bros. Pictures​

I’d like to design a test that interrogates the share of screen time between the female characters and everyone else. You loved the Bechdel test, now allow me to present the latest genius framework for radical women’s film critique: The hot girl screen time test.

• How many looks does the femme fatale serve?

• How many times are we privy to her conversations?

• What is the ratio of male lead monologues to hot girl monologues?

• How many moments in the film do we see her alone, away from the male lead’s gaze?

The ultimate test. I wonder how many “good” films would pass.

It is no secret that many films capitalise on the “Hot Female Lead” without giving her due diligence. She does, of course, get the courtesy of a feature role in the marketing materials: A prime spot on the poster, all of her scenes promoted in the trailer and her name in big, bold letters alongside the film title. All this to infer the expectation that her role in the film would have some weight. We are promised the hot woman will be in the film. But she’s played like a carrot on a string. 

Many films are guilty of this.

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A bizarre assortment of them swim to mind. Scarlet Johansson in Chef. Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street. Lucy Liu in Shanghai Noon. I have no idea why these films come to mind, I don’t even like them, but my opinions won’t absolve them from their guilt in this matter.

Then of course there is the litany of 20th century films wherein the femme fatale appears only long enough to flick a cigarette and ruin the protagonist’s life. 

Who are these women? Give them their own damn films!

It’s an insidious variety of western cinema’s tendency to “fridge” its female characters, an infuriatingly frequent phenomenon where a woman is killed off in the first moments of the narrative so her death can serve as a plot device, motivating the male lead’s actions towards the denouement.

When hot bitches don’t get enough screen time, they’re relegated to background characters while hurting their backs carrying the plot. There is no indication of why Neo and Trinity should fall in love – other than the prophecy – because they hardly speak to one another. They’re both incredibly sexy, I guess. 

After all, that is how people fall in love, right? 

I need a prophecy and some leather pants immediately.

Hollywood needs to repent for its sins and make reparations immediately. The penance will be multiple “Hot Bitch: The Movie” releases. Zoë Kravitz did not need Robert Pattinson supporting her in that role. The Batman could have been a lot shorter – and ten-thousand-times better – if it had been Catwoman

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Until then, I’ll be sticking to media that knows what it’s doing. The Charlie's Angels movies are the greatest action films of all time. Clueless has the most dynamic and fabulous cast ever seen on screens. Even – ugh – Quentin Tarantino knew what he was doing when he made Kill Bill. The girlies deserve that all-star cast, lord knows there aren’t enough of them to go ‘round.

Surprise: Women watch films! And we know that the best films give hot bitches enough screen time. It’s high time for Hollywood to get a grip on that.

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