Hollywood desperately needs more women working in the film industry. Now “desperately” might seem like a strong choice of word when one considers that almost every formula for a great Hollywood film involves a love story, most often of the boy meets girl variety. Indeed there are plenty of celebrity gossip shows and Reality TV series often show a slew of scantily glad socialites, informing you of the sordid tales of their social lives, but don’t let that fool you.
The Academy Awards, acknowledged among industry professionals to be the pinnacle of success, has in its 85 year history only nominated four females for the Best Director Oscar: Lina Wertmuller in 1977, Jane Campion in 1994, Sofia Coppola in 2004 and Katherine Bigelow in 2010. Although Sofia Coppola’s film Lost In Translation took home the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, only Katherine Bigelow received the Best Director Oscar. Pretty dismal for an industry that’s about two hundred years old.
In 2011 USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism released a study whose results show us that only approx. 20 percent of films made can be considered to be gender balanced. Men continue to fill 83 percent of roles behind the camera, with women only filling 18 percent. A shocking statistic when one considers women buy just as many movie tickets as men. Actors in front of the camera are more likely to be females, but also more likely to be sexualized.
They’re twice as often represented in sexy clothing or partial naked. Think for a moment, how many movies featuring a predominantly male partially nude casts can you name off the top of your head? Probably just The Full Monty (1997) and Magic Mike (2012); that list about quadruples when you recall how many women are portrayed in those roles throughout movie history.
Gender equality in the movie business can only be achieved if more women work behind camera as writers, directors, cinematographers, editors, and executive producers. That means more women should enroll in film schools so they can be just as well trained as their male counterparts and competition. The study also found that films with more female writers employ more female cast and crew members.
Despite representing an overwhelming segment of the film going population, women often overlook the possibility of working behind the camera, often due to factors like single parenthood and economic feasibility. Yet in today’s equality minded world of higher education getting a degree in film has never been easier and salaries in the film industry tend to be around $50 thousand annually or higher. If you’re a woman, the world needs you to help make more films.
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