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Hollywood Reporter Acknowledges That The Industry is Sexist

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by Melissa Silverstein
December 13, 2011 11:02 AM
7 Comments
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http://d1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net/d0/405e6025a011e18f3c123138165f92/file/issue_45_cover_angelina_jolie_a_p.jpgThe Hollywood Reporter in the wake of their complete dismissal of women in both its writer and director roundtables has done a 360 and put together a whole cover on the lack of women directors and other women in power in the business.  While the package is interesting (while not saying anything we didn't already know), I just wish that this didn't seem like such a fix up for their earlier ridiculousness.

While we might want to celebrate the successes of women in Hollywood cause it is so much more fun than talking about all the work that needs to be done (trust me, I know), we must continue to push and make people aware of the disparities.  Part of the problem is that no one wants to believe that things are so bad.  But it is bad.  In their piece, Why the Odds Are Still Stacked Against Women in Hollywood, a couple of women who have the clout give some quotes along with Martha Lauzen who tracks women working in Hollywood at San Diego State and all those quotes are extremely depressing but real.

Here are some of the stats included:

  • Pay for writers: In 2009, the median annual pay in film was about $76,500 for men, compared with $62,500 for women. In TV men made $108,000 and women $98,600 for women. (Writers Guild West)
  • Women hold 16 percent of powerful behind-the-scenes jobs -- writing, directing, editing and other influential positions. (Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film- San Diego State)
  • Women make up only 13.4 percent of the DGA. (DGA)
  • 62 percent of roles went to men versus 38 percent to women. (SAG)
  • Women make up approx 50% of the PGA. (PGA)

And they list 5 reasons who it still sucks to be a woman in Hollywood:  Read the full piece

1. Hollywood is still a boys club …

2. … Especially the Agencies

3. The studios are all about the teen males

4. It's the culture

5. Women are to blame (Of course we have to blame women because if women weren't out to derail other women it wouldn't be a good story on Hollywood.)  But still ladies...just because you made it to the office doesn't mean you have to forget you have a vagina cause no matter how high you get the guys never forget who has a dick.

They have a section on five Hollywood directors to know which includes Vera Farmiga, Dee Rees, Phyllida Lloyd, Lorene Scafaria and Patty Jenkins.  (Pay particular attention to Lloyd's section.)  And in a bit of irony, which goes to show how little power women have in the directing ranks, Jenkins who was being lauded for a girl finally getting to direct a Marvel movie lost the gig just as this issue was coming out.  OUCH. 

But let's be real, none of those women (except for Jenkins who was fired) are on the short studio list of directors that can be hired for Hollywood films.  Even Lloyd doesn't get hired in Hollywood, and she has proven track record at the box office and has directed the second highest grossing film directed by a woman (Mamma Mia).  But Indie films are another story and women do much better in that world.

Angelina Jolie and 'Kung Fu Panda 2' Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson on Hollywood's Female Director Deficit, New 'Kung Fu Panda 3 (Hollywood Reporter)

Why the Odds Are Still Stacked Against Women in Hollywood (Hollywood Reporter)

5 of Hollywood's Female Directors to Know (Hollywood Reporter)

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

7 Comments

  • diana | December 19, 2011 11:34 PMReply

    I think it's time for you to cover ARTEMIS ETERNAL

  • Sasha | December 15, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    I think some people are only examining the ostensible and shallow when they look at female competition. First, anthropologically speaking, women-in-competition has traditionally been constrained to gaining mates, raising children, and running a home. In a phalocentric culture, the woman remains second, or Other. Female competition is not to attain female goals, but to attain male goals (be the best wife, mother, homemaker, bed-mate, and helper). Because the competition is for the sake of the phalocentric Idea, the Other is not working for her side, and so does not work to benefit women outside of her household. This is so that the woman may achieve the safety allotted by a society that has very few respectable and/or safe roles for women. As society opens up, the cultural traditions must be combated, mostly by women working for women, not for male goals.
    After all, while it is sexy and flashy to report on female “bitchiness” in Hollywood and other phalocentric corporations, independent programs have far less of this problem. Part of the reason has to do with women in a male environment having to conform to male norms and always realizing that their talent is dependent upon male goals (see the Thor 2 case). In order to work for themselves and not for the man (literally), the woman must defend her position against, not female success, but the male desire to replace women with “younger models”. They are not in an egalitarian-minded environment and so the choice is not between males and females but males and the individual talent. Women should work to raise other women, but there must be an incentive. It isn’t just women who would hesitate to help another worker who may or may not take away everything she’s ever worked for. If you were in a business and you ideologically agreed with helping out another worker, but that worker may take away your success, would you do it? Now, add to the scenario a glass ceiling and all the work and hard-nosing you had to do to get in the job at all.
    To blame it all on “women being bitches” shows signs of a shallow, salaciously-bent intellect and an inability to think sociologically and anthropologically. People today like name calling. They like to overlook deep issues and see only what would look sexy or sensational on a glossy magazine. People would rather read flashy tabloids and watch thirty-second blips than read intellectual works. It’s easier to agree with Rush Limbaugh’s “queen bee syndrome” than to study the history of gender relations, or to even look at the actual issue at hand.
    For example: has anyone done a scientific study of any credibility to give us some numbers on this case?
    And, again, all of this begs the question of why there seems less throat-slitting competition in independent productions and companies. You don’t see women undermining women in, say, Doctors Without Borders or The Peace Corps or in independent arts. When was the last time you saw Ann Hamilton duke it out with Kiki Smith? Or, take literature and see how many female critics and novelists promote other women. I think The Guardian just had something on that… It’s just that “Hollywood (or corporate) cat fight” sounds sexier for lazy readers in our bread and circuses world. We’d rather deal in stereotype.
    It’s cool to write about cat fights, or black men with guns, or Jews in capitalism, or Middle Eastern terrorists, or weird Asian cultural tropes. But, has anyone looked at whether or not these stereotypes are numerically representative of the whole, or if others do not have similar issues when looked at in a large scale? And does no one bother to see what might the underlying societal issues or historical background be for these behaviors so often condemned by various groups? Or, are they bigoted exaggerations made to entertain people who don’t want to look at their own, personal competition, violence, greed, invasion-priorities, and cultural oddness? Are the stereotyped groups even related to the stereotype at all? I’ve seen more WASP, male, suburbanites who were back-stabbing competitive, violent, greedy capitalist, pro-war, and culturally bizarre than anyone else. Conversely, most women I know are not competitive (to a fault, really, and that’s the same in literature and how female literary writers tend to not toot their own horns and so miss recognition). I really don’t know any African Americans that fit racist stereotypes. All the Jewish people I know are into subsistence farming or philosophy or culinary arts, and aren’t like the racist stereotype at all. Pretty much all of the Middle Eastern people I’ve ever met were extremely kind. And most of my friends are Asian and are not weird at all (unlike the predominantly white-male culture that frequents my workplace to play WoW for six hours at a time). People who easily stereotype do not know very many people. They’re sheltered away in their kitschy developments, watching TV and reading James Patterson and pretending to be intellectual based on a few internet articles that they only half-read. Those of us who have moved about, who know many people, in many walks of life, we don’t make these half-assed judgments because, well, it goes against observable reality. And, if an ideology does not conform to reality, it is a poor ideology. That’s like logic 101 (literally, I think that was a direct quote from my first philosophy course). If you’re not aggressively experiencing outside of your small group, as well as consistently studying sociology, science, philosophy, history, literature, et cetera, you’ll make silly arguments like this.
    And, to conclude, if a man in a competitive industry sees his job threatened, yes, he will be as hard-nosed as a woman. It’s just more expected and so ignored, like white male violence, Christian capitalism, non-eastern terrorism, and the weirdness of every culture.

  • DW | December 14, 2011 6:13 PMReply

    The DGA %, as low as it is, needs to be analyzed further. Does that number encompass both directors AND assistant directors? If so, what is the true percentage of females in the DGA who are categorized as director only?

  • All Woman | December 13, 2011 9:02 PMReply

    As bad as things are for women, women are still their own worst enemy with their bitchiness towards other successful women while they celebrate mediocrity. The talk recently has been lack of women directors, then you have a kick ass directorial debut being named in Jeffery Wells top ten movies of the year, what does that doyen of feminism Sasha Stone snark about, it must be because Jefferey has a crush on Jolie, meanwhile she has not seen the movie. Now tell me how does that help other up and coming female directors, meanwhile she has been up Clooney and Pitt's ass . Does that mean she likes their movies because she has a crush on them?

    I will take all these seriously when women in the media quit doing hatchet jobs on successful women but celebrate them instead.

  • brandi | December 14, 2011 8:29 AM

    Wow.

  • C.K. | December 13, 2011 8:44 PMReply

    I think you're right that people don't *want* to believe things are so bad. That seems to be the case with gender inequity in general. I wonder if #3 is a direct result of #1.

  • Catherine Campbell | December 13, 2011 3:49 PMReply

    Good on you Melissa! Good one.

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