By all accounts, the data is good, and there isn’t a doubt that there is significant Gender Bias in Hollywood. This is something has has been studied since at least 1998 and in some cases the numbers are worse than they were then.
My issue with this is that there is all data and no real action to make a dent. To find a solution.
I think media literacy programs and education are great, they are vital and I suppose we will see in the future whether they will actually work, if they will beat the constant pressure that the media puts on women to look perfect and men to expect that. But even with these very compassionate people with their very well meaning goals research reveals that in most area’s at least within Film and Television, nothing has really changed in roughly half a century.
I think what is most frustrating about this is that there are very civic minded groups out there, like the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. The department out of USC that studies women in film, even the ACLU and the UN is looking into these shocking numbers, but do these organizations have any sort of plan to make a difference? Especially in a time where technology is so quickly shaping new media. (4k and VFX etc)
As a women who wants very much to work in film, it’s just like starting a business, you have to have money and knowledge. Yes, you start at the bottom and you get your licks and war wounds but there comes a point, that wasn’t so much a needed point just a few years ago when TECHNICAL knowledge is an absolute must. That technical knowledge must come from a place that will teach you the skills that will at least get you an interview. So for instance:
USC has the best film and television program in the world. (Stephen Spielberg was turned down TWICE) They are also a private school with tuition at around 50,000 a year. Now that 50k a year is not something that will go un rewarded, you are going to a school where you will meet future leaders of the industry but that’s 200,000 at least. Then if you want to go into post production like I do and you don’t get hired straight on by some sort of post house, and you need to do things out of your own you need to get a PC that is able to render and run things like previz, and maya and all of those monstrous machines which well hey that’s about 10k to get a proper machine. Now if you still like to work with camera’s, and you don’t want to just be a post production person then you are gonna want to get a Red Camera with 4k capacity and that will only run you on a cheap side if you can find it used 10k to around 50k.
This is the problem… while there is a willingness to work your way up to the top there is a certain amount of knowledge that you MUST have as movies become more and more innovative. For me, I would be happy to NEVER work on a RomCom and only to Science Fiction and SuperHero stuff which makes me much less likely to find a job. So we are talking tuition, equipment and opportunity. From what I see, what is out there is, well you can pay a lot of money if you aren’t working to join different clubs and bang your head about a solution. The different think tanks on Women in film should be combining forces with Schools like USC, UCLA, NYU and all the other wonderful film schools along with partners like Dell, Red, Black Magic, Avid, Adobe and while the women who have succeeded before us step up to become mentors.
There is always this question of why? when some people forget that you have to be a part of a union to do most if not all of the work we are talking about here. The solutions to these problems of gender bias are not easy ones and not ones that can be solved by having the people who are the victims of the bias pay to be in a club, it has to be an all hands in multi faceted partnership to ensure that women get what they need to succeed. Not just another infographic. You can either be all in or all out in this realm.