By Naomi McDougall Jones | Because filmmaking is hard—for anyone, even in the best circumstances—I am well aware that there are still skeptics about whether there is discrimination against women in Hollywood at all. Thus far, I’ve built the case, I hope, for what is happening. But if you work long enough and hard enough at it, you could suggest reasons why discrimination wasn’t at the heart of each anecdote and career story I’ve provided. Let’s zoom out, then, to look at the wide shot of what is happening to women and their careers in Hollywood. Let’s look at the data.
By Naomi McDougall Jones | For female directors fortunate enough to be working, they can expect the average production budget for their film to be smaller than those of their male peers. Film budgets shrink by 20 percent when a woman has the starring role due to untrue but enduring industry “common knowledge” that “no one wants to see films about women.” Since female directors are more likely to either choose or be given films with female leading characters, they disproportionately suffer from these smaller budgets that are assigned to such films.
Remember those minutes-long social media videos of folks quarantine clapping for frontline workers? And for the medical staff and carers looking after droves upon droves of COVID patients? Do you also remember that most of the ones getting the applause were women? If our global health crisis has made one thing clear, it’s how much we depend on—and take for granted—the recognized and unrecognized work women of all cultures do to keep societies going.
And then COVID-19 shut the classroom doors. Nationwide, many schools are closed for the rest of the academic school year for in-person classes. Who knows what the new reality of education will look like when the pandemic is behind us? As teaching has moved online and as parents have taken up the role of at-home educators for little ones, one thing awaits at the end of quarantine: our appreciation for all educators who help guide the new generation to their futures.
Announcing the Oscars nominee lineup for best director with John Cho, Issa Rae threw the best shade at the Academy. “Congratulations to those men.” We feel you, Issa! In all the Oscars’ ninety-two years, only five women have ever been nominated for the award, Katheryn Bigelow being the only one to win it for The Hurt Locker. Yet Bigelow’s win was in 2009. Why were no women nominated for best director this year? Or perhaps the better question is how. How does this keep happening? Because it’s symptomatic of a much larger issue.