Something Missing In The Credits

By: Alec Laube Director Kathryn Bigelow on the set of The Hurt Locker. Source: LA Times

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the entertainment industry and specifically in the director’s seat. Of the 130 films recognized at the 2015 Oscars, only six of them had women directors. As of 2013, only four women had been nominated in the 85-year history of the Oscars and only one woman had won the award for best director (Kathryn Bigelow-Hurt Locker 2010). Hollywood truly is a boy’s club. However, little legal action has been taken, until now. The ACLU has decided to take action and ask for an investigation into the matter. Unfortunately, this type of discriminatory practice isn’t a result of anything more than social constructs that have been deeply ingrained into the culture of Hollywood.

The change that needs to happen here isn’t something that can happen right away or through government action. Societal mentalities that have been established by a long history, and they don’t simply go away within the span of a short few years. This, however, does not mean we should not immediately start working toward that change. The first steps are always the hardest, but this movement starts with making people aware of the disparity in employment. Getting these statistics out into the public eye makes people raise questions. When people start asking why, change becomes possible.

This type of gender discrimination is prevalent throughout American culture. On average, women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same work. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the one in which we live. The way to change this culture of inequality is to address it head-on, for both men and women. This isn’t an issue that the government will be able to fix. The government can’t reasonably mandate that production companies hire a certain number of female directors. The only governmental action in this case would be an investigation into whether or not these numbers are caused by direct discrimination against women. The problem with this scenario is that an investigation would be unlikely to find any discriminatory intent in these hiring choices. If change is going to happen in Hollywood, it is going to have to be a civil movement that drives the change. It may come to something such as a boycott of Hollywood films, although it is unlikely this would actually happen in practice. When the American public is ready to face the problem and fight for change, it will come and it’ll no longer be a boy’s club where women have to fight harder to get their chance. When that will actually happen, however, remains a mystery.