Watch: In Movies, Mirrors Can Tell if You're a Man or a Woman

When you look in the mirror, do you break it or cry? 

A new study conducted by Fandor Keyframe and De Filmkrant has reflected a startling truth: mirrors are very, very good at predicting a movie character's gender. 

In the montage below, the two companies analyze the behavior of fictional film characters as they take a good look at themselves in the mirror. Apparently, in this unadulterated moment of self-reflection, male movie characters are likely to act destructively—they just can't temper the impulse to punch a giant hole in the mirror—while women are more likely to either cry, try not to cry, or chide themselves for crying. This, of course, aligns well with the gender stereotype (and clinically proven psychological perception) that men are more likely to experience anger and women are more likely to experience sadness.

From Man // Woman // Mirror

This confrontation with the self often provokes an emotional response, which the essay proposes to be gendered. While female characters more often point their emotion inwards, ending up either crying or berating themselves for almost crying, men lash out, turning emotion into violence. There are counter-examples to both, of course, but taken together this type of scene definitely trends towards gender stereotypes.

Video is no longer available:     

You Might Also Like

Your Comment


I'd say this seems more like an gender archetype than a stereotype, judging on both the females and males that I know in real life. Generally (in my experience), extreme circumstances and experiences (such as the ones shown in the video) would make most males act aggressively and most females act emotionally. I might be wrong but I would be interested as to the reasoning and arguments of anyone that would state that both males and females treat problems and hurdles in the same way.

I'm quite interested in the conclusion that Fandor Keyframe is trying to get at. Undoubtedly most scriptwriters a) don't have enough females in their stories and b) Don't flesh out their female characters as much as the male characters. I'm not entirely sure that highlighting an arbitrary selection of films that just happen to have mirrors in them is really going to address this issue?

Incidentally they forgot the mirror scene in American werewolf. It doesn't get broken but its a great scare.

June 16, 2016 at 4:15PM

Jason Baker
Music video / concert visuals / motion graphics

I've noticed that I tend to do a lot of mirror scenes with males in my films. I'm not sure why, but they never break them, it's always just self reflecting. Looking deeper inside themselves. I don't go out of my way to write these scenes in my films, they just sort of work their way in. I must be doing it subconsciously. I only recently noticed it's something I've done a lot.
Which leads me to wonder about this video. How much of that is just copycat work. Not necessarily on purpose, but because they've already seen so many other movies with guys angry in the mirror and women sad in the mirror, that it just becomes part of their subconscious filmmaking language.

June 16, 2016 at 5:03PM, Edited June 16, 5:08PM

Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker

The Neon Demon - woman breaks mirror... then cries.

June 17, 2016 at 2:00PM, Edited June 17, 2:01PM


Cool stuff.
Thank you

June 19, 2016 at 1:31AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

Amazing that a mirror can tell if we are male or female, but some humans have a difficulty doing the same, leaving it up to a momentary opinion to make the decision that can change on a whim!

June 20, 2016 at 10:04PM