Skadegård Thorsen, T. ‘Gendered Representation in Danish Film’. (2020)

Skadegård Thorsen, T. ‘Gendered Representation in Danish Film’. Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power, Ed. Susan Liddy, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020, 111–130.

Film studies in Denmark often center on either production studies or content analyses. Most frequently examinations of gender in film fall into the latter category. As such, most analyses of gender in Danish film emphasize what happens on screen. In the Danish film industry, however, gender representation has increasingly become a question linked to equity and equality both behind the cameras and on film. This has been propelled, in particular, by the Danish Film Institute’s (DFI) diversity initiatives, of which a special gender effort was launched in 2015.This article analyzes the premises, presumptions, and potential risks associated with the Danish approaches to gender inequality in Danish film. The article shows that approaching gender equality through what Crenshaw would call ‘single axis analysis’ severely limits the problem-solving capabilities of diversity initiatives such as those launched by the DFI.While gender equality in the Danish film industry has arguably been both understudied, less negotiated, and less governed than is the case in neighboring nations, Denmark has a prevalent national narrative driven by a gender-progressive self-image. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Danish female directors and creatives have enjoyed immense international success, and female-driven narratives have been central to the recent export success of many Nordic Noir series. Nonetheless, this article takes a closer look at how the Danish film industry is handling questions of gender equality in film.