5 Major Takeaways From The NYT Women Of Hollywood Deep Dive

Image: Courtesy of The New York Times Magazine.
Think you've already met your anger ceiling when it comes to the vast gender inequalities in Hollywood? Think again.

Maureen Dowd's recent investigation into the state of male-female affairs behind the lens, entitled "The Women of Hollywood Speak Out" in this week's New York Times Magazine, is chock-full of moments that made us see red — and we suspect they'll have the same effect on you, too. We've collected five of the most rage-inducing passages below for your reading pleasure/fury.

1. That time when a "top entertainment boss" suggested that women aren't trying hard enough.
"'Not that many women have succeeded in the movie business,' one top entertainment boss told me, while insisting on anonymity. 'A lot of ’em haven’t tried hard enough. We’re tough about it. It’s a hundred-year-old business, founded by a bunch of old Jewish European men who did not hire anybody of color, no women agents or executives. We’re still slow at anything but white guys.'"

2. The fact that women feel they literally have to hide the fact that they are mothers.
"The kids question is a significant one. Several top executives talk about the problem of female directors dropping out to have families. And there is still such an atmosphere of fear that many female directors told me they hide their pregnancies until the last possible minute. One director confessed that she actually hides her child, refusing to put a photo of her son on Facebook, fearing 'it could end my career.'"
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You are on a raft, you got away from the sinking ship, are you gonna pull everyone onto the raft with you? What if that sinks your raft and you all die?

Lena Dunham, as quoted by Maureen Dowd
‘I've even had women executives say to me, not realizing I was a mom, 'We always want to work with women filmmakers, but then they have kids,' says Marielle Heller, who also directed last summer's critically acclaimed The Diary of a Teenage Girl. 'It’s a real stigma, which I think is not fair. It’s crazy to me that that’s the excuse because nobody ever asks men who have kids whether they’ll be able to do it.'"

3. Only two women have ever directed a $100 million big-action blockbuster.
"That kind of leap — from indie to blockbuster — is almost exclusively reserved for young guys in baseball caps who remind older guys in baseball caps of themselves. Kathryn Bigelow, a unique figure in Hollywood, got a big budget for K-19: The Widowmaker. The director Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman will arrive in 2017. No other woman in Hollywood has directed a $100 million live-action film."

4. In recent history, women have only made up one-third of on-screen speaking parts with character names — and that's not even the most damning statistic.

"From 2007 through 2014, according to Smith’s research, women made up only 30.2 percent of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films.

"But the most wildly lopsided numbers have to do with who is behind the lens. In both 2013 and 2014, women were only 1.9 percent of the directors for the 100 top-grossing films. Excluding their art-house divisions, the six major studios released only three movies last year with a female director. It’s hard to believe the number could drop to zero, but the statistics suggest female directors are slipping backward. Prof. Martha Lauzen of San Diego State University reports that in 2014, 95 percent of cinematographers, 89 percent of screenwriters, 82 percent of editors, 81 percent of executive producers and 77 percent of producers were men."

5. Women are trapped in a system in which they feel like they can't help other women without jeopardizing their own success.
"[Lena] Dunham offered the perfect distillation of the anthropology of women running studios: 'I believe a lot of these women were like, ‘I’m here, I worked my ass off to get this job and I’m not gonna make hiring women directors my mission because then I’m going to get [expletive] fired. And I need to make a difference. This is how I can make a difference, by being the woman who has this job.’ It’s the metaphor of: You are on a raft, you got away from the sinking ship, are you gonna pull everyone onto the raft with you? What if that sinks your raft and you all die? That’s the sympathetic read. The nonsympathetic read is they want to impress their upper bosses and make money.'"

Read "The Women of Hollywood Speak Out" in its entirety, here.


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