Women in Hollywood

Women haven't achieved complete equality yet, but there's been great improvement in gender equality over the past decade in the film industry.

At this year’s Golden Globes, Awkwafina became the first woman of Asian descent to win best actress in a motion picture-musical or comedy. In 2019, female-directed films such as “Captain Marvel,” “Hustlers” and “On the Basis of Sex” were also big winners at the box office.

Though gender inequality still permeates Hollywood, the past decade has seen significant wins for women in film, and it seems female representation is finally making a breakthrough. It’s incredibly important for Georgia to recognize its influence in Hollywood and take steps to ensure gender equality for the film industry prevalent in the state.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame came a long way from the original Avengers movie. Filmed partly in Georgia, the movie had a pivotal scene where all the female heroes come together to protect the others and defeat Thanos. Considering the Avengers saga began with only one female hero in the repertoire, Black Widow, it’s impressive to see how many other female heroes have joined the screen. Slowly but surely, Hollywood is beginning to recognize the audience’s desire to see greater female representation.

In 2017, the DC film, “Wonder Woman,” broke box office records for a female director and beat the record set by “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The movie was one of the few female-centered superhero movies that did remarkably well in the United States and countries around the world, and the majority of viewers on the first weekend were female. It was a groundbreaking moment as it proved a superhero movie directed by a woman can be just as successful as those directed by men.

Not only did “Wonder Woman” succeed in theaters, but it was imperative in breaking the “male gaze” – how films and literature depict women through a masculine viewpoint. Through the “male gaze” female characters, lead or supporting, have often been depicted as objects of desire, submissive and often wearing ridiculous, revealing clothing. However, “Wonder Woman” became a model for future superhero movies with female leads, choosing to focus on female power rather than sexiness.

Though it’s disappointing that the Oscars shut out female directors, female directors made great progress this past decade. 2019 had the greatest representation of female directors among the top 100 films of all time. Names such as Greta Gerwig, director of “Little Women,” and Lulu Wang, director of “The Farewell,” are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and female directors are bringing powerful feminist movies such as Disney’s “Mulan,” Marvel Studio’s “Black Widow” and DC film’s “Birds of Prey” to the silver screen this year.

Georgia is at the forefront of the film industry, and the film and television industry generated 9.5 billion dollars during fiscal year 2018. The film industry has become vital for jobs and revenue in the state. Women in Film and Television Atlanta, WIFTA, was formed in 1974 to promote gender equality and representation in Georgia’s growing film and television economy. WIFTA considers itself “Georgia’s foremost entertainment industry organization in support of women.” Having an organization like this in place helps support the growing film presence in Georgia for women as well and alleviates gender inequality in Hollywood.

Hollywood is beginning to realize its audiences want strong female characters and diverse casts, but it’s still got a long way to go to erase the disparity. Women and minorities remain grossly underrepresented in film. The feminist movement in Hollywood is just beginning, but there’s hope for improvement because 2020 is filled with female-directed movies about strong female leads. These groundbreaking actresses and female directors are paving the path for women to come.

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