May 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
Here is food for thought- Appendix B from a new study on gender equality in film, from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism .
The study’s findings are, basically, more of the same, if not worse for the most recent year. (thus Appendix B for your perusal, consideration, reality checking…) On the site, USC Annenberg News, a post from May 13, 2013 notes:
“Across five years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012), 500 top-grossing films at the U.S. box office, and over 21,000 speaking characters, a new study by USC Annenberg found that females represented less than one-third (28.4%) of all speaking characters in 2012 films. When they are on screen, 31% of women in 2012 were shown with at least some exposed skin, and 31.6% were depicted wearing sexually revealing clothing.”
Okay, so I’m not adverse to skin showing. Lust and sex are part of life. And women like to preen sometimes. Flaunt what God gave ya. The study, however, notes that the skin shown tends to be on teenage girl body parts,
adding salt to the wounds of aging female actresses lucky enough to factor within the 28.4% of speaking roles available and calling into question just what “we” intend to do through film. Sell Peter Pan?
And to the lower than 28.4% female representation. Maybe that truly reflects who watches movies and pays for them.
Maybe WOMEN don’t WASTE THEIR TIME WATCHING (teenage skin in) MOVIES?
There’s a “do loop” here? Build Costner’s baseball diamond and the players will show up.
Maybe the better question, in light of all these not so surprising Annenberg study findings, is WHERE ARE THE MOVIES WOMEN WANT TO WATCH?
Hey, I like action and adventure- say, the BOURNE flicks- as much as the rest of us, but, speaking of BOURNE, the female leads in them are among my favorite actresses because I admired them in the BOURNE. They could stand on their own, given a well written role. Like SALT, for instance, where Angelina Jolie plays a bang up, save-the-world, angry female fabulous lead. SALT has cruelly few other female speaking parts.
Did part of SALT’s success depend upon men watching Jolie? Will men stop wanting to watch Jolie now that she’s altered her body? What an interesting thing to check. Was it just Angelina’s real boobs that the guys were watching all the time? Will there be a new superstar beauty goddess now, one men consider real? The men who, apparently, are the audience for whom the 78% male speaking roles are writ? And the directors and writers and producers and decision makers.
The full study is available at:
List of 2012 Films in the Sample
Marvel’s The Avengers The Dark Knight Rises The Hunger Games Skyfall
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
The Amazing Spider-Man Brave
Think Like a Man The Campaign
Dark Shadows Parental Guidance John Carter
This Is 40
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Phantom Menace (3D) Resident Evil: Retribution The Cabin in the Woods What to Expect When You’re
The Guilt Trip
*Study funded by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism © 2013 Dr. Stacy L. Smith
April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
HERE IS the whole article, on the home site for
TANGERINE ENTERTAINMENT, a company recently begun by two WOMEN IN THE BIZ to “change who is telling stories and what kind of stories are being told”: Sundance 2013 | From the Field.
HERE’S THE QUOTE of note, from an interview a young reporter did with Jill Soloway, who’s got a recent film, AFTERNOON DELIGHT, to her credit
GL: Why do you think there are so few female filmmakers?
JS: Here’s my formula: Let’s say the world is divided 50/50 into men and women. Most of the men would say they feel compelled by ambition to make their mark in some way. Because a small but certain number of women find value in being a mom or by being connected to a powerful husband, you’d automatically reduce our women pool to 40%. Now: what kind of work? Directing is HARD work and it necessitates a drive and a connection to your ego where you feel compelled to be seen and heard. How many women in that remaining 40% would say that about themselves? Guessing VERY loosely, let’s say that brings us down to 20% of those women. Lastly, men have been writing and directing for so long that audiences are simply not used to what it feels like to sit in the shoes of a female protagonist and go on a journey with her. So the market for films with a female protagonist is smaller, and there is simply less money available to go around for that particular product. Now we’re down to 10%, which I think is the percentage of female directors in the DGA!
I’d like to add that emotionally, women feel less confident insisting that their vision is worthy. So I take every opportunity I get to remind women and girls to create, create, create, and do so KNOWING that questioning your self-worth as you go along is a necessary and constant part of the journey.
March 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
Culture Trends and Hollywood: Motherhood
Today’s a bonus day for info sifting my way about women in film… info that highlights some pretty Cro-Magnon industry attitudes.
Check out this very measured article by Scott Myers from his GO INTO THE STORY official Screenwriting Blog of the “Black List,” a membership site where industry insiders and wanna-be’s can hook up. Find each other’s projects- scripts, that is.
Now that that’s clear as mud to everybody but the initiated, here’s a bit he notes about a trend that he calls “momance” (wow, even my computer wanted to force that to read “romance”)…
“…back when show business was ruled by men, the trajectory from girlfriend to wife to mother was a downward, one-way spiral; now there’s more mobility.
That’s partly thanks to actresses like Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig, who defy expectations that men won’t watch movies or shows geared to a female audience,”
(Let me here digress to the nice nude statue writing on the wall in my earlier post about Halle Berry, the post in which the nice nude, whose provenance I hope to track since she is so nice, late 1800’s perhaps, suggests that PEOPLE DO WATCH MOVIES ABOUT WOMEN. Myers goes on to say:)
“…and also because there is at least one woman running a major studio and lots of female writers, producers and directors who welcome seeing their own concerns — boyfriend, baby, ex-boyfriend — reflected on screen….”
(Read it here, Culture Trends and Hollywood: Motherhood | Go Into The Story, while I shop down the perfect picture for the post:)
“…But Hollywood comedies still color inside the lines of conventionality. Once a woman in her 30s gets her man, or can’t find him, then she has to want a baby — or cope with a baby she didn’t plan…”
March 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
This article I found fascinating. It’s about several currently running movies starring women- IDENTITY THIEF, MAMA, SAFE HAVEN, and Berry’s THE CALL.
Not really being in the industry, I seriously wondered why Reuters contributor, Todd, Cunningham, suggested, “You don’t want to make too much of the success of those films…. While hits, none of the them are blockbusters; “Identity Thief” is at $123 million domestic, “Mama” at $71 million and “Safe Haven” $66 million. And this is typically a slow season at the box office.”
I get the part of the money. Even $123M isn’t big money for a blockbuster.
But WHY NOT MAKE SOMETHING of the SUCCESS of these films. And of the fact that adverts highlighted the women stars and were directed towards a female audience. I, for one, think the writing’s on the wall and nobody’s reading it.
Here, let me assist:
“PEOPLE BUY TICKETS TO WATCH WOMEN ACT.”
repeat … “PEOPLE BUY TICKETS TO WATCH WOMEN ACT.”
Bravo, Halle, by the way. And, hey, read the following article:
March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
Liz Smith from the Huffington Post had similar reactions to mine (earlier post: “Bel Ami, a World Where Women Don’t Matter”) when she saw the movie, BEL AMI. Thank goodness. I thought it was just I sensing faded vampire in Pattinson’s acting and hero worshipping Uma Thurman’s skill. I feared I was just a dumb movie watcher. But no, the proof’s there on screen. The women overwhelm. And the pity’s that I bet the spin was all about Pattinson in a challenging and career enhancing role. He’s as much clinging to the skirt tails of these women’s acting skills as his character is to the fictional society women he beds in his climb to the top.
Smith posted in 2012, just before the movie came out: “SPEAKING OF interesting messes of movies… “Bel Ami” starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas…. The women make this movie. In fact, they make the movie well worth seeing!”
So, hooray to Uma, Christina and Kristin! Definitely women worth watching. Even if their roles require them to be duped and screwed and then tossed aside by lesser actors and men.
Here’s the Huffington Post link: