I have a bit of trouble sympathizing with movie stars. It’s frankly difficult for me to feel sorry for or even empathize with people who are paid ungodly amounts of money to play “let’s pretend.” They also get a few perks we common folks rarely receive, like applause and awards.
This is not real life. “Hey, Mom, good job on that diaper change!” (clap, clap, clap).
“Hey, Teacher, thanks for showing me how to read. Here’s your golden statue award that will ensure your success and humongous gobs of money throughout your career!” (clap, clap,clap).
I am a huge movie nut, and certainly see the lack of diversity in almost all entertainment. I understand that some roles would be silly if filled by women, African Americans, Asians, Latinos, etc. But this is the small minority, most roles could be non gender or race specific, and the story would still be great. Even movies based on true events, like this year’s Spotlight and The Big Short, could have beefed up ancillary roles and more reflect society, even if, by historical accuracy, most of the major roles were white males. (But could we accept an actor of color or a woman playing a role based on a white man? Is race and sex integral to the telling of the story? Discuss among yourselves.)
I especially enjoyed this year’s holiday offerings on the Hallmark Channel. Certainly no one would argue that this is the epitome of good moviemaking, but it was about the whitest white Christmas I have even experienced. I really don’t think the race of the prince of whatever made up country or the boss of whatever imaginary corporation has to always be white to stay true to the “story.” Doesn’t anyone ever take a moment to look at the company party or Prince’s ball, and say “Hmmm, is there something wrong with this picture?” (besides lack of real plot, bad acting and old prom dresses and togas from college parties used as “ballgowns”).
As long as old white guys produce our entertainment, we’ll keep getting white-centric, male dominated movies and t.v. shows.
The blatent lack of diversity in race is readily apparent. The sexism is a bit more camouflaged, but shocking if you investigate. There is a measure, called the Bechdel test. Basically, it’s this.
- Are there two or more (named) female characters in the movie?
- Do they talk to each other?
- Do they talk to each other about something other than men?
So many movies fail, it’s shocking. This year’s Oscar contenders:
The Big Short: Fail
Bridge of Spies: Fail
Mad Max: Pass
The Martian: Pass
The Revenant: Fail
Spotlight: Technically passes, due to one line, at the end of the movie, Nanna to Sascha, “Can I have a glass of water?”
Some would argue that it is just the story being told, no harm. I then challenge you to reverse the Bechdel test, and apply it to men. Can you name even one movie that fails? I can’t.
I am grateful to celebrities bringing attention to the lack of diversity in entertainment. It’s also important that they look to their own work and see if they are perhaps part of the problem. Did any of the white male actors in The Big Short, for example, notice anything odd?
I’m looking forward to the day that our entertainment is created and produced by a more diverse crowd. I hope I live that long …