Women and Hollywood

Hey guys!

I love films. I am such a film addict, it’s ridiculous. My sister loves films a bit more than I do, so much so that she is now studying Film and TV Production at University. So in my household, movies are a pretty big thing. Living with my sister, I’ve learnt a lot about the film industry, and over the years it’s become clearer and clearer just how… unequal it really is.

For one of my modules, I took out a book from the library called “America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies”, and there is a section about Women and Hollywood. (Now you can see the link with the title!) I was just having a quick read through, and this quote by activist Rebecca West really stood out for me, and is what got me thinking about this week’s blog post:

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

It’s great, right? But you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Women and Hollywood. I saw a few weeks ago something about Jennifer Lawrence making a complaint about sexism in the industry, and how whenever she stands up for herself, it is seen as something petty, whereas if someone like Bradley Cooper made a complaint, he would be making a “very good point”. Why should there be a difference, just because one famous actor is male, and the other is female?

It doesn’t end there. Have you noticed at the Oscars, almost all of the time it is a male director who wins the “Best Director” category? If you hadn’t noticed that, then take another look. Kathryn Bigelow (director of “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker”) was the first female to win this category with “The Hurt Locker” which was made in 2009. The Oscars have been going on for over 80 years. Just think about that for a little bit…

Going back to “America on Film”, it clearly states that directing and producing films used to be seen as a “man’s job”, and that between the 1930’s-1950’s, women would usually be put in secretary or receptionist jobs, because it was more suited to their skills. Of course, women could be in front of the camera- there are hundreds of famous actresses from this period. But a woman couldn’t work behind the camera, and if she did, it would be working as a minor assistant, or a script girl (she would assist the director in making sure the scenes were continuous). Sounds like a pretty mundane job for a woman, right? I know this was back in the 1950’s, but still!

The point of this post is that I find it ridiculous that it’s 2015 and women are still unequal to men in the film industry. Films are something for everyone, yet it is pretty much controlled by men. I understand that historically, men would have been the financial backers so they had to be in control of certain things, but it’s not the same anymore. Can’t people just move on and accept that things have changed?

Finally, I want you to take a look at these statistics. For those of you who follow my personal blog (I’ll leave a link at the end of this post), you may know that I studied media for my A-levels, and we learnt about “The Male Gaze”, which is a theory by feminist Laura Mulvey, in that films are made with a male audience in mind. If you look at the website in the link, I think it really shows that Mulvey’s theory was correct. It also reinforces everything I have mentioned in this post, so if I haven’t persuaded you that now is the time to start changing Hollywood’s views on equality then I don’t know what will…

-The Storyteller

Blog- The Storyteller / Twitter- @_WhenInDoubt_

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One thought on “Women and Hollywood

  1. Luna Cooler says:

    Gender inequality in the film industry is an important issue, but it’s not so easy for people to move on and accept that things have changed. For one, I think I detect here some implicit bias. That means that maybe the people in the film industry actually do believe in gender equality, but biases have all slipped into our minds. Subtle actions and words people see and hear (like maybe that Mulan song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, but I must admit I like the melody) from a variety of sources, including older people, will lead them to unconsciously believing that women are universally weaker. That bias is then reflected in the Oscars and films. It is quite hard to remove implicit bias. I suggest you Google the IAT and click on the sexism test. Even feminists may have implicit bias, but what will be good is if they are aware if their biases and work to reduce as much as they can of it.
    And I notice the women speaking up for equality in the statistics are white women. There is even less of a representation when it comes to women of color like me. While white women are oppressed, they do have privileges because white people are usually valued more and therefore these celebrities will have a more amplified voice than the rest. If you look closely at Arquette’s full Oscars speech, you will detect a feminism that’s more toward whites.

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