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 Christian Coleman | Come on, Barbie! Let’s go party . . . in your library! You’re about to become Bookworm Barbie and read the days and nights away. Don’t worry about Ken. He’ll be fine because he’s just Ken. Now that you’re in your self-discovery era, you’ll have lots of questions. Like why you’re in a blockbuster summer movie and how the film industry works. We got you. And everything you want to know about empowerment for women and girls, beauty (and health) standards, life in plastic in the real world, the patriarchy, and all the badassery in women’s history is in these books from our catalog. Each sold separately!
Whip out that #OscarsSoMale hashtag. This year, the Academy snubbed such filmmakers as Gina Prince-Bythewood, Maria Schrader, Sarah Polley, and Charlotte Wells as Best Director nominees. In “The Wrong Kind of Women,” Naomi McDougall Jones writes that this snubbery—read: discrimination—owes itself to “the film industry’s fetishization of the male ‘genius’ auteur filmmaker.” Must the patriarchy be so basic? At least Sarah Polley took home a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for her film “Women Talking.”
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.
She led a sit-in to ensure protections for people with disabilities and laid the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act. She’s calling on all of us to act radically to build a different kind of future for cinema—not only for the women being actively hurt inside the industry but for those outside it, whose lives, purchasing decisions, and sense of selves are shaped by the stories told. She’s proving how a groundswell of activism, led by everyday women, could create the incentives our political leaders need to change course and make affordable healthcare accessible for everybody.
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.