I know you didn't need another study to confirm that women make up very few behind-the-scenes roles in Hollywood, but The Celluloid Ceiling proves just how bad things really are. Following a report about the lack of female directors earlier this month, The Celluloid Ceiling, which has tracked women’s employment on top grossing films for the last 20 years, found that women made up just 18% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2017. But hey, the good news: that's a 1% increase from last year *throws confetti but is mad about it*.
This closer look at the numbers expands upon "Inclusion in the Director's Chair?" by Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in the sense that it looked beyond directors and zeroed in on specific other positions. However, the results unfortunately support the same conclusion: things aren't improving fast enough for women, and in a climate like #MeToo and Time's Up, which work to combat the inequality, anything that stays the same still feels like a defeat. We should be better than this by now. We have to be.
Original story follows.
As if Hollywood didn't have a bad enough year with #MeToo exposing the rampant sexual harassment and assault allegations in the industry, 2017 also showed no improvement in the number of women working on the top 1,100 movies (almost like the two are connected because sexism is so deeply ingrained in our culture???).
According to a report titled "Inclusion in the Director's Chair?" by Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which focused on the gender, race, and age of 1,223 filmmakers working on 1,100 top-grossing films released between 2007 and 2017, only 4% were women.
This is particularly frustrating considering the success of the women-led movies that came out just this past year, like Wonder Woman and Girls Trip. Wonder Woman broke box office records, and Girls Trip raked in $30.4 million in its first weekend. It's not like movies led by women consistently do poorly, but then female directors like Greta Gerwig, whose Lady Bird earned 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, get snubbed by the Golden Globes.
The solution to both this lack of women directors, and likely also the pervasive problem of sexual harassment, according to Women And Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein, is to hire more women.
"Part of the cleaning house of predators MUST include commitments across the industry to hire women, particularly women of color, or else this reckoning will be for naught," she wrote on Twitter — and she's right. Only four Black women, two Asian women, and one Latina have worked as directors on the 1,100 films in the 11-year study.
"Every institution across the board must make a public commitment to increasing women and we must hold them to it," she continued. "Everyone should be raging. Our cultural stories are being hijacked."