Culture Populaire: Why So Few Women?

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Why So Few Women?

In the United States, entertainment and politics represent powerful, male-dominated industries with significant influence on how women are both defined by others and how they define themselves. In 2007's top-grossing films, women comprised only 15 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers. Only 16 percent of the U.S. Congress is female, and only eight states have female governors.

We at Girls' Club Entertainment are currently developing a documentary about women's under-representation in these two spheres and what we can do about it. In the face of these dramatic statistics, our central question is--why so few women?

Please take a moment to share your thoughts by commenting on this thread. Your input will guide us in the production of our film. You can also learn more about the issues by reading our community story in the Women, Power and Politics exhibition. Thank you for your help!

Making the Link

I think it is so important that you are making the link between entertainment and politics. From the trends of history, it is evident that in the U.S., the two are intimately linked. Look how many men in the entertainment industry moved to politics! My state of California alone launched Reagan and Schwarzenegger's entertainment turned political career.

The more I watch these elections, the more I see how politicians are just performers. They must command and connect with an audience. They must convey ideas - not just through words, but through an all-encompassing theatrical production. Their every performance is reviewed by an army of critics and pundits.

I don't think it is a coincidence that neither the entertainment nor political arenas don't trust a woman to run the set. It's the same story line but with just slightly different staging.

Michael DeLong
Michael DeLong
Etats Unis

Internalized Sexism?

A real disappointment is that one of the few well-publicized, fairly big-budget all-female movies to come along in quite some time -- The Women, directed by Murphy Brown's Diane English and starring an all-female cast -- portrays women as shallow, neurotic, back-stabbing gossips obsessed with plastic surgery in a fluffy, frothy remake of a 1930s classic. English had a chance to really bring across some wit and bite and wound up with a throw-away sit com parade of the worst stereotypes of women's emotional lives. I wish this film had been directed by Nicole Holefcener or perhaps Alison Anders.

Caroline Bielskis
Etats Unis

Women are giving in.

I agree with Mr. DeLong. Women are hurting themselves now more than they were a couple of decades ago....by trying to "fit in" to the boy's club. I've heard women make the same sexist comments against other women, play up to what the boy's club expects, make excuses for men's bad behavior, continue to work harder at home, and often in the workplace - and giving away or sharing the credit instead of demanding the respect they deserve, etc.; over and over. All because they're afraid of being called an unattractive name, or of being alone. It's very destructive to all women, and it's holding us back. We need to stick together, support each other, and have the same protective attitude that men have for other men. Good men are wonderful people, and respect, support and admire strong, intelligent, capable women. Those are the men we should align ourselves with - in both our personal and professional lives. Also, we should be writing to filmmakers, and letting them know we're tired of most of the leads, and the power players in films being men (doctors, lawyers, judges, etc.).....even in action movies, a woman can hold her own - in the film, and at the box office. That's been proven. It's changing, but not enough and not fast enough. The black community is making great strides, because they're not taking any crap. It's absolutely unacceptable for anyone to speak disrespectfully of race - yet women are fair game. It's very sad.

Olive King
Olive King
Etats Unis

Alluring apparel overload

Your film sounds very interesting. I'm wondering if you're working with the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media? I've read in their literature that men's roles outnumber women's in films roughly 3:1--and this stat has held constant for at least 20 years. And when they do make it in films, women are more than five times more likely to be shown in "alluring apparel" than men. And this is across the board, even including G-rated films. What message does this send out to our youth? Our young girls and boys? Thanks for working to bring the issues to light.

Patti Ryan
Patti Ryan
Etats Unis

Julia Childs vs Me

I am a 50 year old woman, just now finding the time and energy to pursue my lifelong dream of making music. After raising four children and remaining committed to a beautiful 30 year marriage, both of which I would never dream of changing, I am now driven to use my musical talent. Many people in the industry write me off as a delusional dreamer. I am not exotic, young or coming onto the scene with a tragic past. I am a plain woman with a mission to bring hope to the hopeless and resiliency to those who, for some reason, have come through life without it. In two years I have written, arranged and recorded two full length CD's. I perform wherever and whenever I can with the band I formed. The process of getting this important music to listeners requires tireless footwork and tenacity galore, but on I go, drawing my music loving fans in with relateable life experiences reflected in song. Julia Childs started her career at age 50 with her love for food. Did this work for her because it is expected that women cook? Is it so far fetched for a woman to become a performing artist at age 50? For me, it is not far fetched. It is the one thing that the universe has been screaming for me to do all of my life. I'm going for it.

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Patti Ryan
Patti Ryan
Etats Unis

Video is a Song

The video section above holds an mp3 of the song I wrote about landing in this place of music making...finally. It says it's processing, but it works.

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