General Screens

Money and on-screen representation: Get it together, World.

What this post has evolved into is - what I'm reading that is making me sad. Some days I feel more hopeful than others, and frankly - some days I'm just sad and angry. And ALL days, I want to see more women, more people of color, more diverse bodies of all kinds, and more diverse minds represented on screen AND represented in the all the things in the world. Get it together world.

I’m late in getting my “What I’m reading” post up – but I do think that waiting for “Equal Pay Day” to post it is appropriate. This year, Tuesday April 4, 2017 has been designated Equal Pay day – it represents how much longer women have to work in order to have earned the equivalent to what men earned the prior year.

Also – despite the fact that “What we’re reading” is a relatively new series for Profs Do Pop, I’m already going to bend the rules. I’m going to write about some of the stuff I’ve been reading in the news I consume – as I believe it is relevant to our discussion here at ProfsDoPop. Typically, this series will pull from academic scholarship. However, I’m sure many pop culture, media studies, and American culture scholars will be or are pulling from some of the studies I’m about to reference here.

I feel as though there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence for people of many different marginalized identities to feel like “things are getting better” lately <said everyone in every generation ever>>. Certainly, there are things that have happened in this century that sometime make me feel marginally better about being a women in this world – and in the United States. For example, Samantha Bee! Bee’s existence and the fact that, through a semi-blind application process, her writing teams been hailed as one of the most television diverse writing teams. Worldwide, there are now more women enrolled in college–level education than men. Yea – education! And Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland! She and her production company are owning ABC prime-time TV, right?

But… these are standout examples for a reason. Because then there’s news like this:

Planet-wide, the market labor force is still only about 40% women, and that represents just one percentage point of improvement since 1990.
– Quartz

ONE PERCENTAGE POINT IN ALMOST 30 YEARS GUYS!

And then there’s this

[T]he number of women in broadcast media, which had a higher gender gap than newspapers, online media and wire services, actually decreased since Women Media Center’s previous analysis.
– As written in Motto: From the Editors of TIME

And this

[W]omen only constitute 19.4% of U.S. Congress and 24.8% of state legislatures.
– As written in Motto: From the Editors of TIME

And this

[F]emale professors brought home about $18,200 less than men who held the same posts. That pay gap has actually widened by $500 since 2014.
– As written in Motto: From the Editors of TIME

And this

Across all arenas [in film, broadcast, cable, and digital television show], for both minorities and women, pronounced underrepresentation is still the norm. Minorities gained a little ground between reports among broadcast scripted leads but lost ground or treaded water in all the other arenas. Meanwhile, women lost ground in nearly every arena – with the exception of film leads, digital scripted leads and digital scripted creators, where the degrees of underrepresentation for the group remain unchanged.
2016 Hollywood Diversity Report: Busine$$ As Usual? 

LOST GROUND IN ALL OTHER ARENAS and LOST GROUND IN NEARLY EVERY ARENA!! And this is all despite the fact that it actually is financially advantageous for the creators of these shows and movies to make things with “relatively diverse casts.” The money is there, the audiences are there… but frankly the movies and the shows are not.

So yea, when some of us say we aren’t that interested in yet another show with a smug, white, hetero man at the helm – it’s for good reason. Not only are we NOT actually making ground in some ways, we are actually losing ground. Don’t point at the one or two anomalies as evidence that we’ve progressed further than we have.

What this post has evolved into is – what I’m reading that is making me sad. It is also about what I am not reading. We need more studies that examine industry practice and its lack of diversity. We need more articles that show what and who we are missing. I would read that.

Some days I feel more hopeful than others, and frankly – some days I’m just sad and angry. And ALL days, I want to see more women, more people of color, more diverse bodies of all kinds, and more diverse minds represented on screen AND represented in the all the things in the world. Get it together world.

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