To the extent that the conversation on the gender gap in Hollywood has been put front and center, it has surfaced regrettably, often through witless statements by men. Colin Trevorrow's recent claim that "Many of the top female directors in our industry are not interested in doing a piece of studio business for its own sake" is only the latest in an ignoble line. The New York Times Magazine turned that model on its head today.
In the breathtaking article "The Women of Hollywood Speak Out", Maureen Dowd generates an exhaustive analysis of the status of women in contemporary Hollywood. Insights are in no small supply in the substantial piece, which we cannot recommend enough—a provocative, unflinching reality check on an industry that woefully underrepresents women even as female directors, actors, writers, and powerbrokers seem to be finding a greater share of audience support.
The numbers are not encouraging. “In both 2013 and 2014," writes Dowd, "women were only 1.9 percent of the directors for the 100 top-grossing films. Excluding their art-house divisions, the six major studios released only three movies last year with a female director. It’s hard to believe the number could drop to zero, but the statistics suggest female directors are slipping backward.”
Some of the more enlightening quotes from the article's many luminaries, many of them working to ensure that women have a greater presence in the industry:
“Boys are never encouraged to imagine what it is like to be female. The reason I know this is because when I made ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ it was the very first time men came to me after the film and said, ‘I know how you felt.’ " —Meryl Streep
"Quentin Tarantino can make Pulp Fiction for $8 million and you can slap him on any magazine...He’s the poster boy. He was for me. I want to be that guy even though he looks like a foot. God bless him, and he can do whatever he wants to my feet. But with a female director, you’re just not celebrated the same way." —Leslye Headland
‘‘There’s this ickiness associated with women that I think is the real misogyny always at the edge of things. It’s certainly tied to how women can’t get older. There’s a very short time span when a woman can get into the world of power and be a delightful treat. There’s a fear, when women make things, not just that it’s going to be a flop but that it’s going to be annoying and embarrassing and somehow incriminating. You picture Spike Jonze, the Duplass brothers, Wes Anderson — can I call them my peers? They might have a flop, but they will never have that ickiness.’’ —Miranda July
‘‘All of a sudden, we’re in this era of, ‘Oh, my God, girls.' It’ll last about as long as it always does: about five more minutes.’’ —Amy Pascal
‘‘The world of movies is fascinating to me because everyone has amnesia all the time. Every time a female-driven project is made and succeeds, somehow it’s a fluke...That’s ridiculous. There’s a very hungry audience of young women dying to see some movies. They came out for Titanic and Twilight, 14-year-old girls going back to see those movies every day. I find it fascinating that this audience is not being respected. In the absence of water, people drink sand. And that is sad. There’s such an interest in things being equal and such a weary acceptance that it’s not.’’ —Shonda Rimes