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MDX Redbeat

The Entertainment Industry: Is it a man’s world?

Ideally, we all would desire to live in a world where we have the same opportunities and reside in a community where gender diversity and equality are viewed as central values. The entertainment industry is powerful in reflecting and shaping the attitudes of individuals and depicting a small scale of our society. Thus, the presentation of both genders and their equality is crucial in the industry in order to depict the experiences and points of view of the societal groups. 

Although it is suggested that gender-balanced industries deal better with decision-making than unequal gender environments, many sectors still struggle to achieve gender parity.

Figure 2: Women walking down the street. Source: Unsplash.

Mind the gap, will you?

Different Hollywood celebrities have expressed their opinion on the entertainment industry, and they all have a common denominator; the industry is man driven.

Beyoncé affirmed the above-mentioned view in GQ, “You know, equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?”

In CBS This Morning, Oprah stated, “If I were to tell you what I got paid for movies, you would laugh.”

Nicole Kidman at Lucy Awards suggested, “Obviously we need to create more opportunities; it’s not an even playing field…”

During an interview with 60 Minutes, Meryl Strip said, “No one has ever said to an actor, ‘You’re playing a strong-minded man’. We assume that men are strong-minded or have opinions. But a strong-minded woman is a different animal.”

Figure 3: The Devil Wears Prada (2006) starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt. Source: Unsplash.

Netflix, a very well-known entertainment platform, was sued by Oscar-winning comedian and actress Mo’Nique on the basis of underpaying her for a stand-up special when they were offering other white male and female stars millions of dollars.

On the film American Hustle, although the three main actors, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams, had all worked the same hours, Bale and Cooper earned USD 2.5m while Adams earned USD 1.25m. Moreover, the Forbes list of 2019’s highest-paid actors revealed that Scarlett Johansson was paid USD 56m whereas Dwayne “The Rock” John was paid the amount of USD 89.4m.

In accordance with Celluloid Ceiling’s report, although a fifth of all the directors, writers, and producers on the top 100 films were women in 2019, no female directors were nominated at the Golden Globe Awards or the Oscars.

Figure 4: Woman in sari, representative of cultural and traditional clothing in India. Source: Unsplash.

Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan, received the amount of USD 38m whereas famous Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone earned USD 11m. She was paid USD 1.8m to star in Sanjay Leela Bhansali while Khan is paid USD 5.5m per film!

Although Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar admitted in her interview with Hindustan Times that “this new trend of female lead films doing well at the box office is picking up”, there is a gap in budget parity. 

Does it all fall into the Ancient Greek thought that the exclusion of women from participating and/or watching theatrical shows would have a ‘bad influence’ on them, as they were perceived as being the ‘easily susceptible’ ones?

Figure 6: Women as directors in the film industry. Source: Unsplash.

Nevertheless, the efforts to depart from such anachronistic views and stereotypes need to be acknowledged as well. In Brazil, in 2013, the Carmen Santos Award – “Cinema by Women” was launched aiming to provide visibility for the work of directing women and technicians to promote equal opportunities for both genders, with particular attention given to Afro-Brazilian women and women of vulnerable groups. In Sweden, the Swedish Film Institute (SFI), reached an agreement requiring the funding of directors, writers and producers to be distributed in an equal manner by 2016. Indeed, Sweden became the first country in the world to achieve equal public financing for films. To raise international awareness on gender equality in the industry, the FiftyFifty by 2020 event was launched in Cannes Festival in 2016. 

In Bollywood as well, the appearance of women has increased. In the last three years, in at least thirty movies, females play a central role not only in the posters but in the plot as well. This is shown in movies like Neerja, Nil Battey, Margarita with a Straw, Dear Zindagi, Akira, and more. Furthermore, between 2015 and 2017, females were protagonists in 11.9% of films, whereas in the 1970s, the percentage was close to 7%.

In the last few years, our society has made efforts to depart from gender stereotypes and bring equality to the workplace, however, there still remains a colossal gap to be closed.

Figure 7: Behind the scenes of a movie. Source: Unsplash.

So, is this a man’s world?

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