Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hollywood still functions as a straight, white, boy's club

Feb 24 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
DIVERSITY ROW - `Hollywood still functions as a straight, white, boy's club'

Men far outnumber women as directors, writers and industry executives. Minorities are drastically underrepresented in acting roles. Lesbian, gay and transgender characters are almost non-existent. This is the portrait of an “epidemic of invisibility“ in Hollywood described by researchers in a study released of more than 400 movies and television series from 2014 and 2015.“The film industry still functions as a straight, white, boy's club,“ said the study, conducted by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Its release just days before the Academy Awards echoes earlier findings by the Directors Guild of America and is sure to deepen the debate over the lack of diversity among this year's acting nominees.For the second year in a row, the nominations did not recognise any minority actors.
“The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite should be changed to #HollywoodSoWhite,“ the study said.
The study found that women and girls made up less than 34% of speaking characters in movies and series. The share was worse in films: Abo ut 29% of the parts went to female actors. Minority groups represented a little more than 28% of speaking characters in films and series, about 10% less than their share of the general population, according to the study . Just 2% were identified as LGBT.
Behind the camera too women were heavily outnumbered by men, making up about 15% of directors, 29% of writers and about 23% of series creators. The disparity was starkest on movie sets, where only 4% women were hired for directing jobs. Only two directors were black women during that period: Amma Asante, the director of the British period drama `Belle', and Ava DuVernay , the director of `Selma', whose omission among last year's Oscar nominees prompted indignation.
Stacy L. Smith, author of the study , said the findings mapped out an ecosystem of inequality .
“It becomes really important to think about not just the awards but -from television, streaming and cinematic content -who gets opportunities onscreen and behind the camera. Who gets hired,“ she said.
The researchers also, for the first time, analysed 10 major media companies, including Sony and 21st Century Fox. Each one failed to meet the study's definition of “inclusive.“

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