Because Women Make Less, Wear Less & Get Fewer Nominations

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 11:14
Submitted by Carlin Ross

It's Oscar season which means the media is a flutter with nominations and fashion projections - the perfect time to reflect on women's status in film.  We may razzle dazzle on the red carpet (who cares about tuxedos) but we're way off from any semblance of gender equality in Hollywood.

In the whole of Oscar history, only four women were nominated for best director and only one won: Kathryn Bigelow in 2010.  I've watched a ton of films directed by women that were superior to anything at the box office but they never garnered a nomination.  Whether we're talking about directors, producers or actors men clearly dominate in nominations.

So you don't get an Oscar nod - who cares if you're raking in the cash.  Not so for women.  Even Angelina Jolie makes the same amount of money per film ($33M) as the lowest paid male actor.  Our best is their worst.  I don't think there's anyone more beautiful, talented, captivating or talented than Angelina (if you haven't seen her film Blood in the Land of Honey's amazing).  How about a little equal pay for equal work?

As we watch the Oscar's, let's keep in mind that we're a long way off from gender equality in film.  I would love to see Hollywood women band together and create their own lobbying organization to push from biggest paychecks and more participation in the business of film.  It's time. 

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Equality in Hollywood

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 15:37

It's been decades since I bothered to watch 'the Oscars'. It's all puffed-up, self-promoting, narcissistic nonsense. There's no question that women deserve full equality and recognition in all areas of life, but the movie business can't be reformed in isolation from the rest of society. Hollywood has managed to glamourize itself so that it has far more impact and respect than it really deserves. Angelina Jolie deserves equal pay as a matter of principle, but like celebrity athletes these people are all grossly overpaid anyway. In time, I hope that we will find all such inequities equally unacceptable. Teachers, nurses, sanitation workers, and many other people make far more positive contributions to society than actors and directors, and their pay and status should reflect this.

Could you please state the

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 16:53
Elin A (not verified)

Could you please state the source of this picture?

No glamour in slave hours

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 21:12
Jake E

Oh Patrick teachers do get more money than actors. I think actors deserve their money if they're lucky enough to get famous. Most actors make very little even if they're really good. At least at the bottom Teachers have a regular salary and family friendly hours, and they can make great money by multiplying their audience by broadcasting, like Niel De Grass Tyson and Bill Nye. 

I think one reason male domination of  Hollywood continues is the killing hours people work that no one with a balanced mind and a love of living their life would ever do. Here's Kate Mulgrew on her working day, that later in the interview she said badly damaged her private life 

It damaged William Shatners private life too. But rather than say lets have stupid hours for people who are desperate for a break so they can make some money, lets just have reasonable hours and working conditions so both sexes can raise a family. That's true of parliments and politics too. If we base work on the male model that assumes men have women at home 24/7 to care for their kids, that destroys that womans chances of achieving in the workplace unless she ignores her family too, like Kate did. And like her the dads like William shatner deeply regret not seeing their kids or their spouse and the divorce anf emotional upheaval that insues. In fact all the actors who played the Star trek captains are in that position. 

Working people and the rich

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 02:46

Jake, I have lots of respect for dedicated actors who devote themselves to their craft because they love it, even knowing they won't be amongst the few who really make it big. I'm thinking more of the Hollywood elite. They may work lengthy hours at times (not glamourous, I agree), but they're extremely well-compensated for it and unlike most of us they can afford all the hired help they might need at home. Their hours may sometimes be brutal and their family lives may suffer, but that's due to the demands of our economic system, which holds that there is nothing more sacred than extracting maximum profit at whatever human cost.  Humane working hours and conditions, fair compensation, paternity and maternity leave, and health care benefits ought to be the norm for all workers and are available to some, but they're not the norm for nearly enough of us.

Skype Emma on your study coach

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 20:05
Jake E

Patrick, teachers have all those things and actors don't. Actors are feelance and use their agent to get what they can. Teachers have a high degree of certainty and lower risk. Actors have uncertainty and much higher risk. You can't ask people to take a huge risk with their life if their rewards when successful are capped as if they'd taken no risk. If you do that do you then capp the movie makers. Then you get no movies, because they won't take the risk of making a movie if the rewards arten't enough to sustain their business model. I think  Emma stone should get more money if she's the best value actor in Hollywood, not less. She should be a mid value actor, like most of the guys.   

This is actually quite interesting because before cinema, actors had more certainty because the millions spent on cinema tickets today were spent on music hall and theater. So that money was spent, not just on a few stars, but was spread over a huge population of actors and performers. 

What's interesting is that the pre cinema actors world is very similar to the teachers world today. Of live local performing in classrooms and lectures. Right now there's a revolution starting, to video lectures and have teachers spend much more time trouble shooting with students. So you could get a few stars getting great money and lots of lowley teachers getting per hour rates working help lines. We'll have to see if it actually turns out like that.

I think hollywoods movie dominance is coming to a close too, as the tools to make great movies are becoming more and more available, and theaters are 4k digital, the same as our phones will be in a few years time. 

Risk and reward

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 20:09

Jake, the whole idea of being a 'star' in the media, whether an actor or a teacher-turned-media-celebrity like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is that they are well-paid because they make even more obscene amounts of money for other wealthy people: investors, studios, advertisers, and so forth. It's not that I think that actors' compensation per se ought to be capped, but that compensation in general (in American-style capitalism especially) is based almost solely on one's worth to the profit-generating system. This is a heartless system that leaves far too many of us barely getting by and is particularly cruel to the disadvantaged. Compensation is all out of proportion, in other words, which is why the rich keep getting richer.

Well-paid actors provide entertainment, which is no small thing, yet they're overpaid in comparison with, say, the town rubbish collectors who arguably do more to prevent disease than doctors do. You make a very interesting point about the entertainment of yesteryear, such as music halls and vaudeville; there were certainly stars back then, such as Sarah Bernhardt, but there was also perhaps more steady employment for performers. I wonder also what's going to happen with the trend towards making media stars of certain teachers; we'll have to keep an eye out for that.


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 20:09
Jake E

Patrick, being wealthy isn't a crime. And those people who make money shouldn't be conflated into one group of pantomime villains. People are individuals, Elon Musk is amazing and so is Peter Diamontis. As an individual, go and make some money, it's not easy. 

In general, the higher up the wealth tree you climb the more your surrounded by selfish people, but that's a generalisation. Meeting people who are wealthy reveals they are diverse and they're people. I disagree with Jesus thoughts as reported in the bible about the eye of the needle that created this prejudice. I think it overstates the case and goes too far. But I do agree with another of his/her statements. The love of money is the root of all (a lot of) evil. Steve Jobs said we should follow our passion, which can create something valuable, rather than just think of ways to make money, and he won his Darwinian contest with the rest of the electronics industry. The higher the risk, the more courage we need to follow our passion rather than thinking of ways to make money.  Advancing technology is making that easier though as less and less money is at risk as production costs fall. Hail the approaching movie revolution :)

You can't attribute the job of rubbish collection with lofty goals. Hygienic rubbish collection wouldn't exist with out the work of people who practice science and medicine  and planning, and the historic persistence of people who specialise in public health . I couldn't claim their work for myself if I got a job collecting rubbish. At least I'd have a job, which is more than most people who try full time acting.

I think it boils down to this. I've just changed the last paragraph so there are no labels. A doctor becomes a person who practices medicine. When I do this I put myself in the shoes of each person I talk about. I could be he person who _____. They're not othered. They're a diverse set of people waiting for me to meet. Then I can appreciate why they've made their choices and if I disagree with them, I can more realistically invent solutions because I could see myself making those mistakes too.   

Empathy and wealth

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:02

I agree, Jake, that having wealth per se isn't a crime, and everyone
is an individual and deserves to be treated as such and not pre-judged. I
do believe that we have an economic system that favors ruthlessness and
all too often rewards cruelty rather than compassion. I think we can
find abundant examples of this in politics, where the Republicans and
Tories are proud to represent the ruling class and have no shame in
disdaining the 'lower orders'. Indeed, they take tremendous pride in
refusing to help them and in letting them suffer. (Sadly, the Democrats
and Labour probably aren't much better).

There are some people who follow their passions and are led down a path that does
good for many people; perhaps some are scientists, some business people, some actors. But I'd argue that in general, the concentration of wealth at the very top of society leads to political and economic consequences that tend to maintain and bolster the positions of those wealthy people and to weaken the positions of those at the bottom. Rubbish collection, by the way, is certainly a public service that is the result of collaborative effort, as you rightly say. My point was only that, while we're all human beings born with equal dignity, the dustmen and rubbish collectors and scullery maids of the world have long been treated like lesser beings and are most definitely not seen as equally worthy by the upper and middle classes. But I very much agree with you that we're all born as worthy individuals and we need to keep open and accepting minds about one another.

Patrick I agree

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 07:01
Jake E

placing ourselves in the shoes of other people, wether they're poor or wealthy means everyone has basic respect, even though as a successful scientist I'd be a great deal more useful than I would be filling shelves in a supermarket, I'm still me. 

We've touched on the industrialisation of acting. That kind of thing has been happening all over. Local shops become big chain stores etc Autominous crafters (like weavers)  become employees in a factory. Only the really hard trades to automate are still with us, Thatching, building. 

But all this is driven by consumer desires. Mainstream mass consumers want to see big movies, not little local plays, and buying the cheapest regardless of how it got cheap is acceptable. I'm never using Amazon  after seeing how they treat their staff. but thats not the common reaction, people still use them because they're cheaper. So eventually where we all work has to be as cheap, which means a similar staff regime.

When it comes to concentrating wealth at the top, we've been  doing  this to ourselves. Now the potential is moving back very strongly in the opposite direction. With 3D printing (local custom orders) and the net and hyper connectivity. A guy landed a part in a small B movie after a studio saw his funny youtube videos, yet his youtube videos were seen by millions more than the straight to video movie.

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