Women are sorely underrepresented in media but what can we do about it? There is a way to combat it and it’s called representation. Young girls need to see that there are more options available than just actress or singer when they want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. You can be a director, producer, screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, foley artist, the list goes on and on.
I didn’t go to university but I did GCSE drama at school, an all girls school I add, and while it was fun at the time and I took it fairly seriously as I wanted to be an actor, when I think back on it now it was a tremendous waste of time. We weren’t taught how to act, the various methods, how to learn lines, what stage directions were all about. ‘Stage left isn’t just left?’
We were usually put into groups, given a word and based on that word create a scene to be acted out. It was lazy. Now, I don’t know what GCSE was like at other schools or indeed if the curriculum has changed and more is being taught but I suspect nothing or rather not enough has changed.
Fewer than 9% of the UK’s film directors are female, how do we change that? By showing girls these women that make up the 9%. But another question you should be asking yourself is how much do that 9% get paid when set against their male counterparts?
There is a deep chasm between men and women’s wages within the entertainment industry. For example Jennifer Lawrence gets paid $11,000,000 less than Adam Sandler. Fucking Adam Sandler!
The highest paid female movie star, Angelina Jolie, makes around the same per movie as the two lowest-paid male stars. There is no justification for this, it’s just ‘how it is’ but the more we accept that bullshit the longer this will go on and women will never be equally represented within the industry.
I have no idea what GCSEs are like these days, it’s been over 15 years since I left school but whenever I see a statistic about women in film/TV that drama class comes back to me. I wish our teacher had taught us more, I wish more opportunities had been open to us. I wish someone had taken the girls who couldn’t act to one side and said, you know what maybe you should have a go at directing or writing or sound/lights etc
Guest speakers would have been excellent too, the only way to encourage girls to do jobs traditionally taken by men is to show them they can do it too. Inspire them, open their worlds.
I’ve heard Neil deGrasse Tyson and Whoopie Goldberg talk about the first time they saw Star Trek and were shocked and thrilled to see Nichelle Nichols who plays Lieutenant Uhura. A woman of colour who wasn’t ‘the help’ she was an equal. It inspired them to dream bigger, to not let racism dictate how they saw themselves or what jobs they could see themselves doing. They could do anything.Representation matters.
An article in The Times suggested that of all the top-grossing movies of 2013, women accounted for only 16% of the writers, directors, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers. How can we make up half the population and yet be so underrepresented both behind and infront of the camera?
You may have already seen this, I love an infographic and this one is a real eye opener if you’ve never given women in film any thought. Click to enlarge.
There is a misconception that films with female leads don’t do well at the boxoffice but that just simply isn’t true.
How many times have you been watching a film only to find you roll your eyes at the female characters? Oh good, another bimbo, another unreasonable woman, a kill joy, oh good another rape scene. We are constantly seen as shrews,bimbos and victims.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing characters for women, especially in television at the moment but in film we are still stereotypes. It needs to change. Men are allowed to play a huge breadth of characters and at any age, the same cannot be said for women.
A womans age is a big deal in Hollywood. I stumbled across this quote from Goldie Hawn and it sums it up perfectly. But it’s sad and who’s to blame? The film companies, directors, casting agents? I don’t have the answer but I know that it can’t stay this way forever. I want to see equality, I want to see a broader range of actresses in terms of race,age and sexuality. I want better characters and I want more female directors, producers and writers.
WE CAN DO IT!