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Hollywood represents luxury. Red carpets, fancy clothing and expensive jewelry appear alongside stars of the movie industry. Despite this luxury, the films produced also represent the population and the lives of everyday people. When watching award shows, such as the Golden Globes, which aired on Jan. 7, observers can see which types of people films represent and which they ignore. Historically, the media tends to ignore women despite their prevalence and importance in our society.While the Globes include awards solely for actresses, the categories that include multiple genders remain predominantly male. The Best Director award category included only men, despite a woman, Greta Gerwig, having directed the winner of the Best Motion Picture award for Lady Bird.
Furthermore, the exclusively-women categories of the Globes are dominated by white women. Every woman nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture was white, contrasting the people of color represented in nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – which a white woman, Allison Janney, won. Most actresses have the same level of training and talent as their male counterparts, if not more due to the barriers they face upon entry into film industry – barriers that sometimes hinder people’s careers. A study conducted at San Diego State University showed that women represented only 17% of the roles behind-the-scenes in the film industry – including directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers.The same study found that films with at least one female director employed more women in other sections of the film industry, such as producers and writers. As Lady Bird and other popular woman-directed films prove, women’s talents for creating a film can match, and exceed, the talents of men performing the same job. However, men hire women less often and give women smaller roles when they are hired as opposed to instances with women hiring women.
According to a study conducted by USC Annenberg on Media, Diversity and Social Change in 2016, women consisted of only 28.7 percent of speaking roles, and only 26.5 percent of women lead, co-lead or carried an ensemble cast. The number of speaking and acting roles correlates to the number of women writers: only 28.9 percent of the screenwriter population consisted of women. Although this was the year of women empowerment, we seem to have forgotten all the talented women of colour. The Golden Globes are guilty of just this. Of the 170 nominations for individual awards, 4 went to women of colour – none of them won. This lack of representation negatively affects the population’s view of women. According to panel study about Racial and Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Children’s Television Use and Self-Esteem, consumption of media decreases self-esteem among children of “racial differences” or in other words, kids that are, or are mixed with, anything but white. Lowered self-esteem correlates with a greater focus on body image, eating disorders and lowered body satisfaction – especially for girls.
The oversaturation of the media with men shows a problem in our society that allows men to wield their societal advantage however they please, a problem that has been brought to light with the recent and continuous sexual misconduct scandals. Our film industry and the products we consume, largely created by men, do little to discourage this behavior. More women need to be showcased in every sector of filmmaking. Encouraging women to have active roles in the filmmaking process will allow women to reach success and create more diverse stories, thus creating a more diverse and representative society.
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