Women in Hollywood left a comment worthy of posting the other day about the seriously depressing state of women [not in] Hollywood:

Glad that we are having this conversation but this is something that people who care about women and film have been thinking about for some time. Bottom line is the studios don’t have any confidence that women leads can attract butts in the seats for Friday night and they also know that women leads don’t sell overseas. Women who buy 50% of the movie tickets have to be smarter with our money and support women made and women-centric films so that more of them get made.

Here’s some more food for thought:

• In 2006, only 3 movies in the top 50 starred or were focused on women. (EW)
• In 2006, less than a dozen of the 307 films eligible for an Oscar were women driven (EW).
• In 2007, only 5 of the top 50 films starred or were focused on women. (my count)
• Of the 150 films nominated for best picture from 1977-2006, only 5.5 were directed by women (USC).
• Of the 6,833 single speaking characters in the film nominated for best picture from 1977-2006 only 27.3% were females. (USC)
• In 2007, women only comprised 15% of all directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 grossing films (San Diego State)

If you can about issues related to women & hollywood check out my site: http://womenandhollywood.blogspot.com/

One interesting development in media lately is that, if you buy the idea that the web has anything to do with the success of film, film sites are dominated by male personalities. Most film critics are male (almost all, frankly); the popular Hollywood buzz sites (so-called) are dominated by males. The female voices out there are few and far between and tend to be judged more on how they look, sorry but it’s true, than what they write – no one cares what the male bloggers look like. Hot and sexy women on the web draw readers in this particular fanboy generation of film coverage on the web. So, women need to shove themselves into the middle of the room and be loud about it

I find very few women infiltrating the fanboy universe — a few here and there. Even Kate Coe, one of the more interesting female voices on the web, was recently fired from Fishbowl LA because she dared to ask for more money to do extra work that wasn’t part of her job. So there’s Anne Thompson, Susan Wloszczyna, Kim Voynar, Kim Morgan – who else? The sexist terrain of the web makes it very difficult for women to rise the same way men do, unless they’re someone like the Wonkette – using a combo of wit, sex appeal, good looks, etc. Yes, it’s a double standard but it won’t change until people start making noise about it and women start getting involved.

It is indeed a sorry state of affairs. You can watch the trajectory of feminism in films starting with the 1970s, when there were still icons films were built around – Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Barbra Streisand, Diane Keaton, etc. Things started to change in the 80s but there were still plenty of strong actresses holding their own – Debra Winger, Diane Keaton, etc. Julia Roberts took over the 90s, along with Meg Ryan. But it seemed to go from strong actresses, strong parts to weaker actresses in male-dominated films. Women, though, have infiltrated quite significantly the indie world, where female directors and writers have flourished. In big Hollywood, though, it’s never been worse.

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  • Adrianna

    Thinking about cash made on a movie, women plunk down a lot of cash on renting and buying DVDs. The movies loved by women have a long life span and women are happy to BUY their favorites even years after the release date.

    So this return on investment doesn’t seem to be counted in movie making reasoning. Because only cash now is what counts for your reputation? Someone else gets the credit for money made later? Because the slick young suits only want to make cool movies, never mind the $$$ to be made in family movies (also money is made in later DVD sales) and movies for women?

    Just like Walden Media is finding money in the under-served family market, there’s a continuing long-term market there for classy women’s fare. It’s the cool reputation of the deal-makers that keeps them from making money on this niche market. That they don’t see money on the first weekend is just their justification (and I don’t buy it).

    In the meantime, yes, we need to get out and see every female lead role that comes along, and not be shy about saying how much we like a performance.

  • Alison Flynn

    Excellent post, Sasha. I have nothing to add, but I’m glad that this is at least coming to some people’s attention.

  • glimmer

    awesome post Sasha. i’m always amused by the female having to ‘hot’ thing since most of guys wanting that aren’t Johnny Depp jr.

    *rolls eyes *

    for blogs whatever especially you think it would be words/talent/persona or well anything/seeminlgy being at the starting point not the ‘hot’ factor. (although yeah that could be a bonus..just shouldn’t be on the essentail to start list )

    i know you keep returning to the subject that inspired this post sasha. and it’s cool.because the problem is still there….. 🙁

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