I read an article about female directors in Hollywood and it made me wonder: is Hollywood a town that is supposed to make dreams come true sexist? Women are fighting in wars, running for president, but they have yet to conquer one thing…the summer blockbuster. “According to Media by Numbers, all 30 of the 30 top-grossing films from last summer were directed by men.” So where are all the women? Don’t tell me they’re not in Hollywood. Women hold many powerful positions from studio executives, to producers, managers, and agents. They seem to be doing everything EXCEPT for directing the big films.
“Mamma Mia!” and “Sisterhood of the Traveing Pants 2″ are the only two major Hollywood films to be releases this summer that have been directed by women. So what could be causing this?
As the executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film at San Diego State University, Martha Lauzen is considered the most reliable statistician for female employment in Hollywood. Her numbers are equally depressing. Of the 250 top-grossing American movies in 2007, only 6% were directed by women, down from 7% in 2005 and 9% in 1998.
How bad is that number? Well, the number of women serving in the U.S. Senate is more than twice that 6%. Lauzen doesn’t mince words. “Hollywood is far more embarrassed about being labeled racist than sexist,” she told me. “There are a host of causes — it’s not like there’s a smoke-filled room where men get together and prevent women from getting jobs. It’s more insidious than that. But Hollywood is in denial, and as long as they’re in denial, then they don’t feel they need to do anything about it.”
What really puts female directors behind the eight ball is that the film genres studios are most eager to make — rowdy guy comedies, horror and superhero films — are rarely of interest to women. “No one would dream of hiring Nora Ephron or Sofia Coppola for the new James Bond movie, but then again, why would they be interested?” says Terry Press, the veteran studio marketer.
Still, that pathetic 6% figure sticks in your craw. Hollywood has always prided itself as the land of opportunity, but when it comes to female filmmakers, it’s more like a vast wasteland. “I have lots of girlfriends who work in the business,” says Hardwicke. “But all my friends who are directors are guys. I mean, what does that tell you?” [LATimes.com]
So I ask you Angeleno’s, what do you think about all this?
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