The female filmakers in Hollywood – where are they?

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The film industry is known to have a gender imbalance. According to articles online, some of the reasons people within the industry give for lack of women include: there aren’t enough role models or mentors for women within the industry, women don’t actually direct their own films, women just tend to do smaller more indie movies, women just can’t direct action or big block blusters, women just choose to have families instead, and of course our old favorite, overt sexism.

As recently as the 1960s, the majority of women didn’t have jobs, and if they did, they were pretty much renegaded to nurses, secretaries and teachers. Women weren’t thought of as capable of handling anything else except for domestic work and being able to keep a tidy home and have dinner ready at a certain time.

Now you might say that’s decades ago, what does that have to do with filmmaking today, but I think to ask that is to misunderstand the legacy that goes through filmmaking, whether it’s cultural, social or historical. In the 1970s for example we have this huge boom in Hollywood studios, and we have these iconic names that start to be bubbling to the surface of Spielberg, Malik, Lucas, for example. These are still names that people know today. These are the names that people say are sources of inspiration for them, even 40,50 years later.

In films, women are seen in the female departments of costumes, makeup, in the office, there are a fair few in the art department, and also a few pop up in the camera team, but on set there is always a stronger presence of men. The majority of directors are men, and the majority of executive producers are men. I think that there’s still this stigma that women are weak physically, emotionally, and mentally.

This is both surprising and unsurprising to me that there’s still a gender a bias in Hollywood. I think a lot of it has to do with both tradition of mainly male directors and producers, and our tradition of one-dimensional female characters.

Not only are women less represented behind the camera, but also on-screen. There needs to be work done in both areas. Make cinema a place for the female audience members and creators, we need to see more complex female characters. The film making industry needs to understand the need for a female perspective and that female audience members deserve better.

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