"A Female Perspective" Challenges The Male Gaze In Movies

Photo: Courtesy of EPIX.
If you've read R29, gone to the movies, or, you know, lived in this world as a woman in the last year, then the following will not come as a surprise to you. The numbers on women in Hollywood are not good. We know men outnumber us both in front of and behind the camera. We know they get paid more. We know they get more interesting, complex roles. But that doesn't mean that the hard numbers are any less stunning or any easier to stomach. Consider these sobering facts, culled from a report by leading researcher Stacy L. Smith, PhD, of USC Annenberg:

- In the 700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014, only 30% of all on-screen speaking characters were women.
- Only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director in the history of the Oscars.
- Among the 100 top-grossing films of 2014, only 11% of the writers were female.
- Of the top 100 films of 2014, only 21 featured a female lead or co-lead.
- Among the 1,300 top-grossing films from 2002 to 2014, only 4.1% had female directors.
Yeah, it's really that bad. That last statistic inspired the title of a fascinating new short documentary series that explores gender inequality in Hollywood. The 4%: Film's Gender Problem is a series of six documentary shorts that offers up a powerful perspective on the issue with insights from leaders in the industry. Actress Amanda Peet, for instance, puts it like this, "You’re either on the phone or waving goodbye at the doorstep to your husband, or boyfriend, or brother, or father, who’s going off to begin the plot of the movie." Sound familiar?

The other witty, creative voices you'll hear from include Kristen Wiig, Jill Soloway (Transparent), Lake Bell, America Ferrera, Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters), Anjelica Huston, Michael Moore, and Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight). And they also have some compelling advice to offer up on what we need to do about it. All six episodes premiere on Epix (and its digital platforms) on March 8, International Women's Day — but we've got one for you right here already.
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“A Female Perspective”
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