We Need More Weed Films About Women

Last week I was rather excited at the prospect of writing an article for the Her(B) Life titled “12 stoner movies to watch or rewatch”. I figured I’d have to do some ‘research’, which would inevitably end up being a good excuse to indulge in some of my favorite stoner movies from back in the day.

I charged up my vape, cleared my calendar, and cooked up a very buttery batch of popcorn, before settling on the couch for my much anticipated stoner movie marathon. At no stage in my preparations did I consider the possibility that I might emerge from my weed filled weekend feeling anything but high.

Yet, there I was, Sunday night, wondering whether I should forego my journalistic integrity for diversity sake, and include Smiley Face in my list of top stoner movies. Only then did I realise something that had never occurred to me before - there’s something seriously wrong with the representation of women in stoner films.

One after another, the 20 or so films that made my shortlist were about weed, no surprises there, and men. They ALL centred stories around men.

I racked my brain, and google’s too, yet I couldn’t recall any stoner movie centred around women. Their lives were simply glossed over and resigned to play second fiddle to the loveable male characters getting into all sorts of mischief.

Challenge Stereotypes; Women Can be Stoners too

Unfortunately, when it comes to cannabis, women are often made out to be passive consumers or sexy sidekicks in much of the media surrounding the plant. This is one of the main reasons publications like the Her(B) Life exist, to challenge this stereotype. Educating women, providing relatable stories, images and reflections, is needed if we are to nurture a positive relationship between women and cannabis.

Particularly for women, this plant can serve as a valuable medicinal tool throughout adulthood. From periods to menopause, and let’s face it, when the stresses of womanhood reach boiling point, the plant has a myriad of uses.

So why then, at a time when equality, representation and diversity is being prioritised, are we once again glossed over for the loveable character Moonshine, played by Matthew McConaughey, in the upcoming stoner comedy movie, Beach Bum.

Now don’t get me wrong, a stoner film with Snoop Dogg and McConaughey sounds great, albeit a little in the box, but I can’t help think perhaps it’s time rewrite the stoner.

Rewrite the stoner trope

I would be remiss if I did not mention that attempts have been made to generate a more ‘2019’ version of the stoner movie. Netflix had a good stab at it with the film Dude, released last year, and the series Disjointed the year before that. Unfortunately both fell far short of critical acclaim and hardly made an impact on stoner pop culture.

If we really consider the representation of women and cannabis on our screens you’re left with a homogenous collection of stories, that is painting us as sad, slutty and often single. Or in the case of Anna Faris in Smiley Face, a classic stoner script traditionally suited to a male character.

In the real world, the cannabis industry has started to phase out the problematic archetype of the sexy stoner and replace her with an array of representations for the modern woman. This industry is poised to be one of the first to see an equal ratio of females to males in executive roles, and it seems reasonable to expect the world of fiction to follow suit.

I think we need to make some room for new a new type of weed movie. One where the protagonist has a vagina.