Hidden a-gender?

questions of gender in screenwriting practice

  • Stayci Taylor RMIT University
Keywords: screenwriting, gender, script development, feminism, screenwriting guides


This article is concerned with the ways in which a screenplay might be ‘gendered’ or gender identified and, more specifically, how screenwriting practice is informed by, and performs, notions of gender. It asks, in what ways might screenplays be gendered? What is the role of gender in the individual screenwriter’s own practice? And how might cultural assumptions around gender be enacted by and within screenwriting practices (especially mainstream script development processes) and discourse? The article discusses the potentially gendered biases of mainstream screenwriting frameworks (and the how-to market disseminating the same), and then the ways in which this impacts, in particular, the practices, perspectives and representations of women coming to the page, and also briefly examines the tactic of writing for gender-blind casting, concluding that this liberal feminist strategy does not address the inherent cultural assumptions at play in script development processes. Ultimately, the article argues that in cultural system that are inherently gendered, then gendered assumptions may underpin the commercial mainstream script development process.

Author Biography

Stayci Taylor, RMIT University

Dr Stayci Taylor lectures as the Industry Fellow with the Media program in Melbourne’s RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication. Her PhD explore gender, comedy and perspective in screenwriting practice, drawing from her industry background as a televsion screenwriter in New Zealand, which includes co-creating a prime time sitcom, and multiple writing roles on nine series of the award-winning bilingual soap Korero mai. Her publications include works in Senses of Cinema, New Writing and TEXT. She currently has a female-centred comedy screenplay in development with the New Zealand Film Commission.

June 14, 2017
How to Cite
Taylor, S. (2017). Hidden a-gender? questions of gender in screenwriting practice. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 10(2), 4-13. https://doi.org/10.31165/nk.2017.102.508