IMDb has a new ratings system to help audiences find movies that support and promote female voices, and no, it’s not the Bechdel Test.
Dubbed the F-rating, the new scale examines a whether or not a movie was written by a woman, directed by a woman or features significant roles for women onscreen. So this summer’s Girls Trip would be an FF movie because it has a male director, while the woman-helmed horror anthology XX would be labeled FFF.
The classification system was invented by Britain’s Holly Tarquini, who runs the Bath Film Festival. Since creating the F-rating system for that show, she’s gone on to discuss it on a number of occasions, giving a TedX Youth talk on the topic.
“It’s exciting when new organizations decide to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women,” Tarquini told the Bath Chronicle newspaper in reference to IMDb’s embracing of the system, “but our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-rating is redundant because 50 per cent of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population—women.”
For those wondering why kind of thing is important, it’s worth remembering that, according to a study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women were responsible for just 17 percent of all creative talent for the U.S.’s 250 top grossing movies last year, with male directors responsible for 230 of those 250 features, a higher number than in previous years.
This is the first time IMDb has adopted a system to help viewers identify movies based on demographics of filmmakers (although independent websites have tried to offer up ways to find feminist features before), but that doesn’t mean it’s currently going out of its way to promote such features. Right now, if you’re looking for find F-ratings, the only way to do so is by typing “F-rated” into the site’s search bar, although that’s likely to be fixed in future. For now, let’s call it a good start.