Hollywood Illiberal: The Entertainment Industry’s Misogyny and Society’s Broken Mirror

BrokenHollywoodIn a recent heated discussion I was told, “Hollywood is liberal.” That’s bullshit, I said.

“But the themes they use in their stories—they’re liberal,” they rebutted. Again, bullshit.

The proof is in the numbers. Hollywood is a backward institution, the leadership and ownership of which are overwhelmingly white and male.

Entertainment looks as bad if not worse than most other industries in the U.S., when diversity measurements are compared. The entertainment industry in no way resembles the public to which it sells its wares, whether in front or behind the camera.

For women, a majority of the population at 51%, the numbers are grim:

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

[Source: Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media]

Boldface above is mine; the numbers are beyond absurd when it comes to female directors. The Directors’ Guild of America has a folder (binder, if you’d rather) with the names of 1200 female directors. The Director’s List has collected the names of 1800 female directors, even larger than the DGA’s binder full of women.

But the number of women contracted by the major studios to make films is in the single digits?

That’s far from liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

The lack of women behind the camera distorts what the public sees before it:

  • Only 15% of all clearly identifiable protagonists were female (up 4 percentage points from 2011, down one percentage point from 2002), 71% are male, and 14% are male/female ensembles (see Figure 1).
  • Females comprised 29% of major characters, down 4 percentage points from 2011, but up 2 percentage points from 2002.
  • Females accounted for 30% of all speaking characters (includes major and minor characters) in 2013, down 3 percentage points from 2011, but up 2 percentage points from 2002.

[Source: It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013, Martha M. Lauzen, PhD, Center of the Study of women in Television and Film, San Diego State University (White paper, PDF)]

Nor does it appear to matter whether film or television, when looking at the composition of directors. White men hold nearly identical percentages of directors’ slots in either media.— roughly 70%.

What does a crowd with realistic, or even equitable representation of women look like? We can’t rely on Hollywood to show us, based on this data. Our societal mirror is broken, at the expense of our mothers, daughters, sisters, ourselves.

What’s particularly egregious is that even the women in Hollywood have a problem; they suffer from internalized oppression, unwilling to change the system for fear of rocking the boat and reaping even worse results.

Granted, there’s anecdotal evidence Hollywood has suppressed women who have the chutzpah to ask for better, even to the point of walking away from an enormously profitable franchise opportunity in order to avoid giving in — and even when a woman asking carefully couched her approach.

In spite of repeated studies showing little-to-no progress, and in some cases regression of gender diversity, not enough brave souls demand improvement from the system.

Take for example the DGA’s meeting this past Saturday, where female members had an opportunity to ask its leadership to measure gender equity in addition to minority representation, versus the current practice of lumping together both racial/ethnic measurements with gender diversity.

The DGA voted it down, including many voting female members. A Storify of the meeting and the proposal, live-tweeted by director Lexi Alexander, can be found at this link.

Incredibly, sources say some of the women, who asked the DGA to measure gender equity in addition to minority diversity, have now been accused of racism. This makes no sense whatsoever, given data from studies which show that minority directors are far more often represented than female directors. (See page 6, Sec. 5, 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report  [PDF], Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA)

How does this continued misogyny hurt us, the media viewing public, you might ask?

  • It’s difficult to envision a different outcome for yourself if you’re a girl. Stereotypes of computer programmers and systems engineers offered in front of the camera become fact over time, as employment data shows — yet women constituted the earliest programmers, and were then written out of history for a time. How often do young women see realistic models of themselves in a wide range of careers, including those in STEM? How often do they see role models on the other side of the lens, too?
  • Women have been told to shut up for thousands of years, their concerns negated, their persons marginalized, as classicist academic Mary Beard shares from her research. The entertainment industry continues this systematic squelching of women in public by pointedly avoiding them in front and behind the camera.  Is this why the voices of female whistleblowers like Bunny Greenhouse, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret), FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former Enron VP Sherron Watkins and so many others have not received adequate early attention? Or why female dissenters are so often pooh-poohed and marginalized, rather than treated as legitimate alternative voices, whose speech could save us in so many ways? Are they simply ignored because society hasn’t seen them portrayed or employed in visual media as anything but highly unusual exceptions to an unvoiced rule?
  • And when women do appear, they are treated with kid gloves like rare objects. It is difficult to criticize them without appearing misogynistic. Hence director of Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow as an exception in Hollywood does not receive pushback from her peers in the industry about her role in the “accidental” normalization of a war crime, having been used by the intelligence community to sanitized their torture by placing it beyond criticism. It’s just entertainment with a liberal theme, and she can’t be criticized because misogyny!
  • It’s also important to ask whether political leadership and policy outcomes are not also impacted, when we are not offered images consistently of women holding equity in representation. How much of the recent hyperbolic nonsensical criticism of Hillary Clinton can be laid at Hollywood’s door, for failing to show women in leadership more often in front and behind the camera, or for offering overwhelmingly white male images and leadership in the industry? It’s not as if white male leadership did us any favors in the run up to the Iraq War, or the financial crash of 2008, but that’s the devil we’ve known.

How much of the same over-the-top criticism Hillary Clinton during her husband’s administration — beginning decades before she was ever elected as Senator, or appointed to Department of State — was due to white male Hollywood’s failure to offer more diverse and complex images of motherhood and working women?

You can stop right there if you’re going to point to Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal as an exception. She’s another rare object, AND she’s an example of conflicted internalized oppression. The leaked Sony emails offer concrete examples of her frequent inability to champion women filmmakers, as well as her role in suppressing women’s compensation. But she’s a woman! Sure — and who hired her, and who rewarded her oppressing other women? Sony’s male management, of course, which failed to hold her and themselves to account when it comes to gender equity. Pascal would have continued to short women on compensation if Sony’s emails had not been hacked and leaked.

What caps off this entire mess is the appearance of suppression by the DGA’s leadership. There’s been little to no obvious effort made to improve gender equity by its national executive director, Jay D. Roth, who has held this role since 1995. Paris Barclay, elected to DGA’s presidency in 2013, appears to lead diversity efforts in name only. There’s been no real change since either man took on their current roles in DGA; the annual diversity reports look to be but a feint DGA makes at changing the status quo.

Worse, Roth is one of the highest paid labor leaders in the U.S. — yet the 1200 women in DGA’s binder can’t claim real representation for the dues they pay. (See 2005, 2012; for recent, see US Dept of Labor.)

Who are these men leading the DAG working for? The membership NOT in that binder? The white male-led studios?

They certainly have zero accountability to the movie-viewing public, of which a majority are women, and of which the fastest growing market segment is minority women.

What can we do, in the mean time, to increase pressure on Hollywood studios and the DGA alike, to increase the number of women in front of and behind the camera?

  • Watch more films and television programs in which women are leads, and skip those in which women are just wallpaper, or used like disposable plot devices (ex: woman-in-the-fridge trope). Look for films passing the low-threshold Bechdel test.
  • Watch more movies directed by women.
  • Ask your streaming media provider like Netflix for more female-led and -directed content. (Ex: 3-season mystery series The Killing, by showrunner Veena Sud and female co-lead Mireille Enos.)
  • Invest more carefully; skip or sell stocks of media companies and funds containing these stocks, if the media companies are not making and reporting measurable increases in diversity in front of and behind the camera. And yes, being gender diverse makes money; think Disney’s female-led and -directed Frozen, or female-directed Selma which made 255% of its budget, or female-led and -directed Twilight, of which the first film in saga made 516% of its budget. If these companies aren’t seeking diversity, they’re not doing their best by your investment dollars.  Current major film studios: NYSE:TWX, NYSE:DIS, NASDAQ:CMCSA, NYSE:SNE, NASDAQ:VIA

Do take a look at Disney’s stock in particular. Select the 5-year view of stock performance, and note carefully what happened after November 2013 — that’s when Frozen, directed and written by Jennifer Lee and led by Kristin Bell, based on a storyline about sisterly love, released and began to rack up a billion in revenues.

Yeah. That.

[Graphic: mash-up, Matt Olson and Ryan Gilchrist via Flickr]

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
14 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    thanks, rayne. having watched the sausage get made up close, i could write a comment to match the length of your post. i’ll keep it to: the executives develop films based on a series of assumptions that are continuously handed down but never challenged. when a movie defies one of their conventions, they call it a “surprise hit” and quickly move on, never stopping to consider why the film struck a chord.
    .
    their biggest idiotic assumptions are:
    .
    * Men won’t go see films starring a female protagonist
    * Movies w/white casts are “movies” and marketed to all
    * Movies with black (or other POC) leads are “black movies” and narrowly marketed based on a firm belief that white movie-goers will have no interest in the story.
    .
    they truly don’t comprehend how much money they are leaving on the table with this crap. imagine walking into a record store (they still exist, really!) and the employee directs you to a certain aisle simply based on your skin color.
    .
    women have had a much stronger place in TV historically, and today are producing great shows all over the spectrum. shonda rhimes alone rules an entire night of ABC programming. now for the white execs over on the feature film side to allow a moment of critical thought to puncture their world view and confront WHY huge audiences stream to TV shows with diverse casts.

    • Rayne says:

      Nice to see you, Rosalind. Part of the the problem with film has been success by default. If the only movies we’re offered are white guys and fridged women, we end up going to them on date nights. This past week there were exactly FIVE movies I could choose from at my local multiplex. FIVE. None of them targeted the over-40-female audience in any way.

      The other problem is as you mentioned, the “surprise hit” perception. Damned near every film with a female or non-white lead which sells 2-3X its budget at the box office is a “surprise hit.” Feck that noise walking, we’re tired of that chronic stupidity.

      Frozen. Maleficent. Divergent. 50 Shades of Grey. Gravity. Cinderella. All female-led, all blockbusters, all different genres, and ALL of them had massive female audience demographics. Women are simply starved for films.

      The studios know it, too, have repeatedly been reminded of this in the media, and even by analysts:

      “Women are fueling an incredible amount of box office right now,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak said. “I’m not surprised. It’s something that should be obvious, but as a group, women have been marginalized while studios chase 18 to 24 year old males.”

      There’s more going on here, too. There’s a deliberate avoidance of compliance with Title VII — can’t get my hands on the agreement from decades ago that the studios would fix this mess, but the agreement had no teeth. My speculation is that women are deliberately corralled in a closed feedback loop – the studios don’t want to change, the DGA’s white men benefiting most from status quo don’t want to change, so they simply mouth a bunch of words about diversity. In the case of the DGA, they fund a study, pule about the results.

      And that’s it. They do jackshit. There’s nothing to date that forces these jerks to quit sucking up all the oxygen and play fair. The only thing that’s rattled them of late was the Sony hack and the proposal to the DGA. They’ve so far managed to manipulate the response to both.

      Meanwhile, more generations of women attain adulthood without ever seeing a film that represents their struggle to get into and stay in STEM fields — just one example. Argh! Thank goodness for Shonda, but geez, she can’t fix this all by herself with a single network.

  2. jo6pac says:

    Thanks for this, then again we are back to who controls the story tellers as you pointed out the banksters. Profit is king and if any of these girls can bring it in well they’ll paid less then the male co-part of course, that’s the sad game they play.

    I love strong woman rules myself when I was young and now when I’m old. Please don’t read to much into this, it just seems nature to me in the history of women in Amerika and on Mother Earth.

    Vote Green

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Why do Lifetime and Hallmark never have non-white people in the leads of their movies? Because they can?

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Any statistics on how many movies make money? Or statistics on whether there is a greater involvement of women in small-budget films, than in large-budget films? After all, it is a profit and loss business, they will tell you.

    • Rayne says:

      The studios have the data, bloopie2. They just haven’t been pressed by their corporate overlords to actually make more than token profit. Disney so far appears to be the one studio awake to this since it’s ramping up more female-led (if not female-directed) content. DIS is parent to ABC-TV as well, which Shonda Rhimes calls her home.

      That the studios generally don’t make the connection between more women in front/behind the camera and increased profits suggests two things:

      — it’s all really a protection racket, for white male jobs, for white male messaging. (We know this was the case with GE’s acquisition of NBC back in the 1990s, when Rove suggested Welch buy NBC to propel pro-corporate anti-tax messaging. Payoff came not in the form of profit from NBC, but in tax policy ensuring GE paid *negative* taxes.)

      — that financial analysts and investment banks, dominated by men (and more conservative than not), have bought the “Hollywood is Liberal” bullshit, along with the premise that Hollywood is already making all the money it can with its majority white male system.

  5. Stephen says:

    Rayne’s article: “For women, a majority of the [US] population at 51%…”
    .
    A few observations come to mind.
    .
    1) Wouldn’t that make men a poorly understood and much-maligned minority? :-)
    .
    2) I seem to remember women demanding similar changes (albeit not necessarily in Hollywood) back in the days when the statistics showed them to be MINORITY of the population. Apparently demands do not change with the times when the minority becomes the majority. Merely the statistics cited.
    .
    3),The statistic quoted above is arguably a cherry-picked one. For example, are those who live in the USA the ONLY ones who go to see Hollywood movies? If not, why cite American population statistics at all?
    .
    More to the point, that 51% would seem to include such elements of the US population as babes-in-arms and other sorts who (generally) don’t go to see Hollywood movies. A more RELEVANT statistic to cite would have been (say) that part of the population who have been to see at least one Hollywood movie in a cinema over the last twelve months. What is the proportion of women there, I wonder?
    .
    Rayne’s article: “Only 15% of all clearly identifiable protagonists were female”
    .
    Another cherry-picked statistic. You are conflating the protagonist stats for chick flicks and the protagonist stats for he-man action movies in one homogenized morass and wondering why there are so few women.
    .
    I say that because that stat, by your own admission, Moreover, was drawn from the “top 100 movies of 2013”. If by the “top 100” you mean the highest grossing 100 then it’s a fair bet that most of those 100 will be guy-orientated flicks like superhero movies, shoot-em-up flicks, and other action movies.
    .
    In contrast, movies orientated more towards women tend to have lower grosses.
    .
    Moreover, as far as I can tell action movies tend to outnumber chick flicks, at least in mainstream cinemas.
    .
    So that suggests what you are ACTUALLY complaining about is less about the number of women per se in Hollywood movies overall than about the number SUCCESSFUL films made for guys (especially young guys) versus the number made with a female audience in mind.
    .
    If what you are complaining about is the number of women in ALL Hollywood movies–as distinct from just the most successful one–then those who compile such statistics should use sources less skewed towards high grossing movies. Given the nature of the Hollywood film industry looking only at the highest grossing movies is inevitably going to skew the stats towards guy-orientated movies. Such movies tend to cost a lot to make because they often come with lots of expensive special effects which the producers have to get large amounts of money back from their audiences to recover their costs.
    .
    In contrast, female-orientaTed movies tend to be smaller productions which cost less to make and therefore require lower grosses to be successful.
    .
    To make a long story short, the statistics you are citing are skewed. If you want to argue that Hollywood makes too many guy-orientated movies that may be an argument worth having, but using the number of females in guy-orientated movies to bash Hollywood in general over the number of women in the industry is a fundamentally flawed approach.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh Stephen. Tsk-tsk.

      1) You poor, much-maligned minority member. Whatever will you do, forced to suffer the slings and arrows of your majority stranglehold of Fortune 1000 corporations and U.S. government, let alone media ownership? If your white male minority is much-maligned, maybe you ought to have a talk with them about media misrepresentation? Because according to many studies, it’s not women doing the misrepresentation — they don’t own it.

      2) Gee, why wouldn’t things change when ownership and control demographic statistics remain unchanged? I can’t imagine why…

      3) In re US film market – The statistics are just as bad overseas, in fact they are rather uniform across the globe. Much of this is not only systemic cross-cultural misogyny, but concentrated control of distribution as well as studio ownership.

      In re moviegoer demographics: 52% women according to MPAA’s study released last March on 2013 films.

      This percentage may not represent the total potential of female audience, as the percentage will fluctuate with the films released. 2013 in particular was a banner year for female leads, with two films each in the top 100 led by Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence, as well as what is becoming an all-time recordholder, Frozen.

      Additional evidence for audience demographics shifting with content offered also occurred in 2013, when a greater-than-average number of films led by African American actors was released, with a corresponding increase in African American audience share.

      In re “cherry-picked statistic”: Uh, no. This was ALL films, regardless of genre. You want to tell me that a so-called chick flick like The Lucky One (2012) with male co-star Zac Efron — the key billable talent draw for women — is skewing the data? Willful ignorance on your part.

      By the way, can you name a so-called “chick flick” released by a US major studio last year? Can you name the leads? Let me give you little help: of the top 100 films by box office revenues, there were exactly three, and each had a male co-lead. But this distorts the data! Ri-ight.

      In re: “top 100 movies”, “superhero movies, shoot-em-up flicks, and other action movies”: Do your homework. At a minimum, read my comment above about “success by default.” If there are only FIVE films at the multiplex theaters, all of which are damned action films, AND my son wants to take me to the movies this week, I’m stuck watching the crap designed to appeal to the poor, maligned minority white boys ages 18-24.

      As for so-popular superhero movies in particular: you clearly know jack-all about what appeals to female fans, one of which has been the promise that female characters in these films will get their due. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) had a name-draw Hispanic female co-lead in Zoe Saldana. Fans have been screaming for more of Marvel’s Black Widow, as have film critics; they’ve settled for the dribs-and-drabs they’ve been offered *by default.*

      With regard to 2013, the top 10 films included shoot-em-up/action film blockbusters among which were Hunger Games 2 (rank 1) and Gravity (rank 6), both of which where LED BY WOMEN.

      (Cheese-on-rice, I cannot believe I am wasting my valuable time with you at this point.)

      In re “female-orientaTed (sic) movies tend to be smaller productions which cost less to make…” –

      A – Why do women not get to make the bigger productions, huh? Why is that? It’s right there under your nose and you fail to see it. Women can make bigger productions, but they don’t. WHY?

      B – “…require lower grosses to be successful.” Um, that’s the fucking business case for giving more women even more films to direct. I’ve already pointed to two female-directed films earning triple digit ROI. How about Frozen once again, which made 849% of its budget?

      In contrast, male-led/male-directed films World War Z, The Wolverine, Olympus Has Fallen barely cleared their budgets in domestic ticket sales, and White House Down actually LOST money domestically.

      What’s it going to take to get through both your thick skull and those infesting studios’ management that female directors and female leads are goldmines?

      If your logic is representative of your poor, much-maligned minority with control of the film industry, it’s a bloody wonder studios make any profit at all. They are literally doing it by default. I can’t wait for Netflix, Amazon, and other direct-to-VOD producers to kick their asses to the curb.

      • Stephen says:

        Rayne writes: “…your white male minority.,.”
        .
        How did race get into this? I thought your concern was purely with GENDER/SEX discrimination? Are you now conflating racial minorities with gender majorities or are you simply using hurling “white” in the same kind of context others of other ilk would hurl the N-word: that is to say as a emotionally-charged word meant to insult, degrade, and demean in the eyes and opinion of others? Is that the trajectory your argument is heading for?
        .
        Rayne writs: “The statistics are just as bad overseas, in fact they are rather uniform across the globe.”
        .
        Sorry to hear it. Sounds as if you have your work cut out for you.
        .
        Rayne writes: “so-called chick flick like The Lucky One (2012)”
        .
        Never heard of it, never saw it. So? How many women went to see “John Wick” (2014)?
        .
        Rayne writes: “with male co-star Zac Efron — the key billable talent draw for women — is skewing the data?”
        .
        So women like to see a handsome guy on screen–just as guys like to see cute women on screen.
        .
        That said, I do find it strange that you cite a male leading man “as a key billable talent draw” when it would have been more advantageous for your argument to posit a woman in such a position since, according to you, there are too many men in such roles in Hollywood movies already.
        .
        Rayne writes: “By the way, can you name a so-called “chick flick” released by a US major studio last year? Can you name the leads?”
        .
        In 2014? “Gone Girl”. “Tammy”. Do they count as “chick flicks”? Rosamund Pike was in “Gone Girl” plus some guy I didn’t pay much attention to but I think his first name might have been Ben. I didn’t see “Tammy” so I can’t really say who was in it. I just saw the trailers.
        .
        Rayne writes: “Let me give you little help: of the top 100 films by box office revenues, there were exactly three, and each had a male co-lead. But this distorts the data! Ri-ight.”
        .
        Wow, That many. Who’d have thought? So what’s the big plan? To compel Hollywood to make more chick flicks?, What do you imagine that would do to an industry as market-driven and market-dependant as the Hollywood movie machine?
        .
        Rayne writes: “If there are only FIVE films at the multiplex theaters, all of which are damned action films, AND my son wants to take me to the movies this week, I’m stuck watching the crap designed to appeal to the poor, maligned minority white boys ages 18-24.”
        .
        My sympathies. I’d doubtless feel the same way if there were only five films showing in my district and all of them were chick flicks.
        .
        But that merely begs the question: are there mainly (or entirely) action movies showing because it’s all a conspiracy by nefarious Hollywood moguls or because those are the kind of movies most modern audiences want to go and see in a movie theatre?
        .
        Making an industry conform to your own personal product choices sounds more like an exercise in selfishness to me..
        .
        Rayne writes: “As for so-popular superhero movies in particular: you clearly know jack-all about what appeals to female fans, one of which has been the promise that female characters in these films will get their due. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) had a name-draw Hispanic female co-lead in Zoe Saldana.”
        .
        So women were lining up at the box office to see Zoe do her thing? Is that what you’re suggesting? Or were they lining up to see all the hunky guys (and one cute racoon) in that movie? I ask that because just a while ago you pointed to a certain guy by the name of Zac Efron appearing in a certain movie as “the key billable talent draw for women” for that movie.
        .
        Now you’re claiming it’s actually women movie-going women want to see?
        .
        So which it is?
        .
        Rayne writes: “Fans have been screaming for more of Marvel’s Black Widow, as have film critics; they’ve settled for the dribs-and-drabs they’ve been offered *by default.*”
        .
        I bet you and your son will be lining up to see that one!
        .
        By the way just how many other superhero movies with female superheroes have the fans been clamouring for?
        .
        Rayne writes: “With regard to 2013, the top 10 films included shoot-em-up/action film blockbusters among which were Hunger Games 2 (rank 1) and Gravity (rank 6), both of which where LED BY WOMEN”
        .
        Your point being…?
        .
        FYI, women have been playing leading roles, even top billing roles, in action movies at least since the days of Ripley in “Alien” and Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise. A while ago you cited Zac Efron as being a key billable draw for female movie goers in a chick flick. So what do you imagine seeing a cute babe like Sigourney Weaver or Linda Hamilton in a leading role does for male movie goers?
        .
        BTW, just how many women went to see those movies on account of those women being in those leading roles? By the same token, how many guys went to see that chick flick because they had heard Zac Efron was in it in a leading role?
        .
        Rayne writes: “(Cheese-on-rice, I cannot believe I am wasting my valuable time with you at this point.)”
        .
        I can’t believe it either. Must have been on account on all the many excellent points I made and which you felt an irresistible urge to have a go at rebutting. :-)
        .
        Rayne writes: “In contrast, male-led/male-directed films World War Z, The Wolverine, Olympus Has Fallen barely cleared their budgets in domestic ticket sales, and White House Down actually LOST money domestically.”
        .
        FYI, World War Z made enough money back that a sequel is reportedly now in the works.
        .
        I mention that because you need to look at more than just the domestic US market. The moguls sure do. World War Z may have made “only”: #202 million dollars in the US but it made another $338 million overseas, for a grand total; of over $540 million.
        .
        Hence the news of a sequel.
        .
        Wolverine made a total (US domestic + foreign) of just under $415 million, which was a tidy profit on what it cost (which was a lot).
        .
        As for the other two, yeah they flopped. But they still made heaps of money (eg White House Down” made over $200 million in total, foreign plus US domestic). The problem is that such movies also cost heaps of money to make, way more than your average romantic film. But such losses have not stopped Hollywood making action flicks. Why? because so many others of that sort have made enough to make up for the losses. For example, the current entry in the Fast & Furious franchise which is currently heading for $1 billion in total grosses even though it really only had one woman in any kind of significant role (there was a second but her part was smaller)..
        .
        Rayne writes: “…your thick skull …”
        .
        Slinging insults at those whose position or arguments you disagree with is not the smartest way to win the argument. It merely demeans your own position.
        .
        Rayne write: “I can’t wait for Netflix, Amazon, and other direct-to-VOD producers to kick their asses to the curb.”
        .
        Here’s a tip. ask yourself where Netflix, Amazon, et al will be getting most of their movies from?

    • Rayne says:

      That’s exactly it — most professions and industries led by men tend to be circle jerks, all watching themselves and each other, closing the circle to any outsiders.

      Meanwhile,something outside the circle may sneak up on them and…well, Crash of 2008, for example. The rise of China’s banking, for another. Highly predictable if one wasn’t caught up in the circle jerk.

  6. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    It isn’t bullshit to say that Hollywood is (mostly) liberal — though whatever political leanings that exist are almost always accompanied by an acute ignorance of current events/recent history. (Think “Charlie Wilson’s War.”)

    But yeah, Hollywood seems totally misogynistic.

    I’m nitpicking Rayne, but that’s what the Internet is for…

  7. oracle says:

    Hollywood /is/ liberal. Yes.

    So would say the neoliberals and they have coopted the game. If women can’t stand up for and own their own place (nevermind why) then that’s adequate proof they deserve their place.

    Liberals are the neoliberals best cover.

  8. hipparchia says:

    thank you for this.

    when my niece and nephew were visiting over the holidays, all they could talk about was frozen. when my nephew was visiting a few years ago, I took him to see brave, he thought it was AWESOME! I am thrilled that their parents are encouraging this.

    also, my niece has said she wants to be a marine scientist when she grows up. you can bet your sweet bippy that I plan to encourage her all I can (although she is still at that age when kids want to be something different every week, so who knows; if she eventually wants to be a film director when she grows, i’ll be cool with that too).

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