Monday, May 18, 2009

In the movies, is it just business?

Hathor Legacy has a good article on the double standards in movie making.

O.W. at Poplicks recently found my post, Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test the Hathor Legacy and had the following to say about it:

To use her example, if Hollywood has traditionally catered its products to white male moviegoers, it builds an expectation amongst audiences - and executives - that the only successful movies are those that cater to…white male moviegoers. Thus, there is no financial incentive to break the cycle and the very bias that exists helps to perpetuate that bias into the future.

In class, I talk about the relationship between ideology and structure and how ideological bias - the idea that women are inferior, for example - influences structural inequalities - say occupational segregation - that then can be used as “evidence” to support the very ideological bias that helped produce the structural inequality!
I’m quoting and sharing this because I think it states the case better than I stated it myself. The problem is not the demographic numbers; the problem is how the people in charge selectively interpret them, and the circular rationalizations they employ to support the existing ideas. ...
As I have seen pointed out numbers are thrown out about female leads in films, then when the conversation turns to males, it is different. Why use Jack Nicholson in a film, for example? Why make a vehicle for him? Well he is good for box office. Really, look at his returns over the past decade or more and say that. Down the line, it is less a ready excuse to just run with guy flicks, and dump on the chick flick, as it were. Even when you have success for women it is a fluke, it is not a trend. Ignore it.

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