It's no secret that hollywood has a history of favoring male talent both on, and off, screen. However, this year's oscar noms, or should I say lack there of, really take the cake.
It is 2017, women deserve equal pay and equal accolades, period. However, the academy is either ignorant, or unwilling, to acknowledge the incredible female talent knocking on their door.
Reframe is a non profit which aims to highlight gender bias in the entertainment business. Reframe speculates that the lack of female recognition is in part due to a psychological phenomnon known as "unconscious bias," which asserts that people - or groups of people - exhibit an inherent tendency to favor other people who look similar to themselves.
Which makes sense considering the academy looks like this (70% male):
And their nominees for Best Director look like this (100% male):
Now, we aren't saying that these men aren't incredibly talented, because they are, what we are saying is that there are plenty of bad-ass female directors who are just as talented and they deserve some representation too!
In 2006, Actress Geena Davis founded The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to find out what the gender gap really looks like today and put an end to the BS with cold hard facts (check out her full interview below).
Geena partnered with Google and USC to create a software which digitally scanned thousands of hours of footage to determine gender representation in film and television. This study yielded three crucial results:
- Male characters receive, on average, twice the screen time as their female counter-parts.
- Male characters receive, on average, twice the parole as their female counter-parts.
- Films staring female characters grossed roughly 15.1% more in profits.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me these statistics aren't really in line with each other. If films staring women make more money why are women so underrepresented? Well, hollywood's history with gender bias is long unconscious and systemic, a few statistics can't change a half-a-century-s-old trend. However, what it does show is that the proof is in the profits. If the major studios want to remain competitive they're going to have to begin creating more female-centric films.
Further, another study conducted by the institute found that when a female director or writer is involved in a project the representation of female characters also increases and therefore, if A+B=C, if studios begin to employ more female directors and writers they can expect to see increased profits as well.
Want proof? Just look at Grey's Anatomy (a show in which Geena herself portrays Dr. Nicole Herman). This show stars powerful female surgeons and is on it's 13th season and shows no signs of stopping soon! There is a lesson to be learned from that. Creator Shonda Rimes - a pioneer in her own right - has created 3 incredibly successful television shows working largely with female writers, directors, and actresses, and her success is no fluke!
While of course we are still excited to see the oscars and celebrate all the incredible talent, both male and female, we're hoping next year's festivities are just a tad more inclusive!
Because even science agrees: #TheFutureIsFemale... at least in Hollywood.
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