Gender separation in Hollywood affects youth

in Entertainment by
Academy Award winner Natalie Portman wore a black Dior cape embroidered with the last names of female directors who were not nominated for the 92 Oscars. The names include: Lorene Scafaria, Lulu Wang, Greta Gerwig, Mati Diop, Marielle Heller, Melina Matsoukas, Alma Har’el and Céline Sciamma. (Graphic/Nithisha Makesh)

Women comprised the majority of the field of filmmakers in Hollywood during the 1910s to early 1920s, allowing for a time of prosperity for female directors according to the Village Voice. However, no females were nominated in the 2020 Oscars for the Best Director category. 

Only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director in the history of the Academy Awards and only one has won, Kathryn Bigelow. The fact that no women were nominated was particularly disappointing since women dominated top 10-lists in film last year, Time Magazine reports. 

The gender divide is not only prevalent in Hollywood filmmakers, but it can also be seen throughout Hollywood. Men and women are subjected to stereotypical roles in film as well.

 “Men continue to dominate action movies, while women’s roles are concentrated in horror films and dramas, with only 16% of action characters portrayed by women. Science fiction fared even worse – only 8% of protagonists were female,” Dr. Martha M. Lauren, professor of film and televisions at San Diego State University said

Film studios can use the Bechdel Test to generally implement more women into their movies. The test asks the following questions:

Are there more than two named female characters?

Do the two female characters have a conversation at any point?

Is that conversation about anything other than a male character?

According to Five Thirty Eight, A study by FiveThirtyEight has shown that only half of 1,794 movies released from 1970 to 2013 contained at least one scene where women talked about something other than a man.

Besides the use of the Bechdel Test, stereotypical gender roles in Hollywood affect the younger population of society by teaching them how they should act and see themselves. 

Young girls are taught from a young age that their worth lies in their bodies. In order to fit the standards of women shown in Hollywood, these girls worry about their appearance and weight. 

Young boys aren’t exempt from this problem, as they are taught to question their masculinity and feel as though they cannot show vulnerability and hide their emotions because that “is not manly,” overall reinforcing toxic masculinity

One of the causes of gender inequality in Hollywood is that many interviewers and reporters purposefully establish the divide between men and women.

In interviews, women are asked questions about their diet or fashion style; men are asked more professional questions such as their interpretation of their work. 

“If you look at red carpet interviews and interviews in general, you see men being asked questions like ‘How did you prepare for this role? How do you relate to your character?’ While women are just asked, ‘Who are you wearing tonight? Who’s the hottest person in the cast?’ And I just think it is so annoying,” sophomore Mary Abi-Karam said. 

Along with interviewers not directing their interesting questions to women, women are also more under the public eye when compared to men. 

“People like the paparazzi and fans are always staring at women in this business and talking and gossiping about them so much more often than men. It really disturbs me that I’m growing up in that toxic era of Hollywood,” sophomore Jessi Kaplan said. 

Not only do men dominate Hollywood through all of these ways, they also earn more money. Female actors earn an average of $1 million less per film compared to their male co-stars when they perform in similar roles. (UWM Report). 

Scarlett Johansson was named the highest-paid actress of 2018, according to Forbes, having earned $40.5 million. George Clooney also made the list as highest-paid actor that year and earned $239 million. 

The only way to make the roles of women and men in Hollywood equal is to terminate the gender wage gaps, double standards and stereotypes. The public and students can make it known that equality in Hollywood is important in order to spread the message to the executives and producers who could make that happen.

Nithisha, a sophomore at American Heritage, is starting her first year on newspaper staff. Besides writing and reading, Nithisha enjoys many artistic hobbies, like painting, sewing and crocheting. She spends most of her time either studying, pursuing one of her hobbies or watching "Gilmore Girls." A total book nerd, she tries to read as often and as many books as possible.

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