Over the past few years, issues of sexual harassment and gender equality have become major topics of discussion in Hollywood – you can’t go an awards show without the issue popping up in a winner’s speech. But despite so much talk about raising up the voices of women artists and ensuring that the film industry is free from abusive men, we’ve yet to actually witness such change in Hollywood. At the end of the day, it really feels like Hollywood just doesn’t care about women or survivors of sexual assault at all.
Courtesy of: IMDB
Bohemian Rhapsody continues to rack up nominations and awards despite its director, Bryan Singer, being known to prey on and molest young boys.
To start, men who are known to be abusive in the industry continue to be invited to and even awarded at Hollywood’s biggest award shows. Most recently, Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Bryan Singer, has been racking up nominations and awards. Singer has been known for decades to prey on young boys and has had several lawsuits brought against him for his actions. Still, the overwhelming evidence against him has yet to put a dent in his career – he simply doesn’t show up at premieres or awards shows to avoid the media, and Bohemian Rhapsody continues to pick up award after award. Despite a massive exposé in The Atlantic detailing Singer’s abuses, Hollywood producers say they will continue to work with him – he is slated to direct the upcoming film Red Sonja. What greater proof is there that those in power don’t care for victims of sexual abuse when a man who has assaulted dozens of people – most of them children – continues to get directing gigs?
Courtesy of: The Hollywood Reporter
Donna Langley, the Chairman of Universal Studios, announced that the studio will take on the 4 Percent Challenge and produce one woman-directed film over the next 18 months.
While abusive men continue to get a free pass and suffer no consequences for ruining other people’s lives, female directors continue to struggle to get hired by Hollywood’s biggest production companies. In an attempt to get production companies to hire women directors, the Time’s Up organization launched the 4 Percent Challenge At the Sundance Film Festival last week. The challenge aims to get Hollywood studios to produce just one film directed by a woman over the next 18 months. Though the challenge is off to a successful start – Universal Studios and MGM have already signed on and several celebrities have pledged to work with more female directors – the challenge hardly seems like progress. First off, why set the bar so pathetically low? Why not call on studios to make an equal number of films directed by men and women? And why do studios have to make a special exception to take on women-led productions as a “challenge”? Why aren’t they just producing women’s work on a regular basis?
Courtesy of: Glamour
Barbra Streisand remains the only woman to ever win the Golden Globe for Best Director – and that was over 35 years ago.
Though the challenge will hopefully give more women directors greater opportunities, it still does not feel like enough progress in an industry that still rarely recognizes women’s films. Consider that only five women have ever been nominated for the Oscar for Best Director, and only one has ever won (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010). The Golden Globes have done no better – Barbra Streisand remains the only woman to ever win the Best Director award there, and that was 35 years ago. No women directors were nominated at the Golden Globes or the Oscars this year, despite a massive pool of excellent female-directed films to choose from. It’s clear that Hollywood still doesn’t regard women’s films as on the same level as men’s, despite the fact that their films are just as likely to be critically-acclaimed and box office hits as any man’s: look at Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Selma.
It’s sad that despite so much talk about supporting women and victims of abusive men in film, little has been done to promote women’s movies and oust abusers from the industry.
I do hope that initiatives like the 4 Percent Challenge make studios realize the value of getting women’s art made and seen and in turn, making Hollywood a more diverse and inclusive environment. But there is still so much work to be done to ensure that Hollywood becomes that kind of environment, and so far, the industry has yet to prove it cares enough to make it so.