Time for my latest thoughts on diversity. It’s been four days since I posted about racial diversity or the lack there of in Hollywood. And since then I’ve been considering how gender fits into the entertainment industry. Just as I didn’t share my own race, I’m not sharing my gender, because I don’t think it matters. I think it’s possible for me to be objective because I would consider myself a feminist, not because I think woman deserve more but because I think women deserve equality.
I know I’m not the only one. I also know there are crazy man bashing women out there who call themselves feminists and ruin it for everyone. I would have thought that actually my desire for gender equality would put me in the majority. There is no man or woman alive who has not been brought into this world by a woman. So why is it then that Hollywood can’t grasp gender equality?
I am by no means saying that Hollywood ignores women. The recent glut of all female reboots of previously all male casts has not escaped my notice. But these are just as much a slap in the face to women everywhere. Women should not be throwing their fists in the air, cheering and claiming victory. This is Hollywood saying that women can only have importance if they make a big show of it and give them an entirely female cast. Women can only shine next to other women, next to a man they’d be outshone…
And even when women can get a leading role along side a man, one where her character is just as important as her male counterpart she will undoubtedly be paid less… why? More to the point why aren’t their fellow actors saying well actually I don’t need another $100 million so I think I can afford to take a stand and say this is unfair, pay her the same! Because there are quite a few men in Hollywood, who speak their mind and talk about this gender inequality as though they understand the injustice. But how many are taking action? Actions speak louder than words after all.
But this isn’t the only gender injustice in the entertainment industry, oh no. What about transgender men and women? Off the top of my head I can think of three, they are all men who transitioned into women. There’s Laverne Cox (plays Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black), Alexis Arquette (played George in The Wedding Singer) and Candis Cayne (plays Ms. Hudson in Elementary). Those are the roles I know them for anyway. And guess what all of those roles have in common. Yep that’s right they are all transgender women (Well I supposes that’s never quite confirmed in The Wedding Singer). So does that mean the only way a transgender person can get a job in the acting industry is to sit and wait for a transgender role to appear? (At this point I’d like to point out that I’m getting annoyed with WordPress wanting to keep spell checking the word ‘transgender’). It’s hard enough for an actress to find a good role in which she will be taken seriously and not as a lesser being. Can you imagine how hard it is for transgender people? How is that fair?
So what can I do to make a change? Well as someone who is an entertainment consumer I can choose not to support films that are in-equal. But sadly that only does so much. I can demand a change by refusing to spend my money on things that promote inequality. And as a person I can take my support for equality throughout my everyday life. I can support everyone in their aim to do whatever it is they feel like they want to be able to do.
But as a writer I believe is where I have the most power. Maybe my work never makes it further than the 30 odd people following my blog. Maybe my writing never gains any popularity whatsoever. But I can at least say that for a few people I have presented equality in my writing. I can create female characters that are real women who deserve equality, who are equal in importance to the male characters. Women that can stand alone as characters but also work with male characters. I can create characters with a gender fluidity, because really does a persons gender matter to you if you aren’t about to get intimate? Is there anything that is innately male or female? I say no, so why continue to promote stereotypes when I can smash them to pieces with literature? So at the same time as having strong women that can have stereotypically male traits, I can can have men who are a little bit more in touch with their feelings and allow themselves to have those stereotypically more female traits.
To ignore inequality is to support inequality. I have a mother, I have aunts, sisters, female cousins, friends… and I have a father, uncles, brothers, only one male cousin and male friends. I don’t favour any gender because it doesn’t matter, it’s their personality that changes my opinion of them, that makes them more or less worthy of my time, that makes them good or bad people. Men are not more valuable, and neither are women.
I’ll be thinking about sexuality and whether Hollywood is diverse in that respect for part three. Insider tip, it’s not…