A new report has come out that deals with the problem of under-representation of women in Hollywood. The report, Inclusion or Invisibility?, put out by the USC School for Communication and Journalism, gives us a great many figures, in an attempt to demonstrate that Hollywood is guilty of the latest political crime: that of not ‘representing’ all parts of the populace in their business and creative practices. Let’s hear some of the numbers.
Out of more than 6000 screenwriters, 71.1% were male and 28.9% were female. The disparity is greater among movie directors, where 84.8% are male and only 15.2% are female. One of Hollywood’s worst sins is that of not casting enough women over 40, which the report declares to be “one of the most politicized areas in Hollywood.” Of characters over 40, 74.3% were male and 25.7% female. Sexualization of on-screen female characters occurs at more than triple the rate that it does for men. Among leading screen characters, there are almost twice as many men as there are women.
The report continues, saying that “at least half or more of all cinematic, television, or streaming stories fail to portray one speaking or named Asian or Asian American on screen. Undoubtedly, there is a vast under-representation of racial/ethnic minority groups that still plagues entertainment content.” Undoubtedly so… Hollywood is plagued by this inequity! In an earlier report, the same authors muse whether or not black directors may be a cure for the under-representation of minorities in film.
What is the result of forcing films to “look like America?” This is the question which truly matters. It’s effect, in brief, is to force a new Jim Crow, in which talented people will be denied a place in Hollywood because they are of the wrong racial make-up. If the quota of whites is filled, then someone new, no matter how talented they are, cannot have a place at the table. The latest Hispanic star, though he might be as good-looking as Antonio Banderas, won’t get a job, if all the jobs for Hispanic men are filled.
If this sort of thing were to really happen, it would be a complete reversal of the dream of at least one prominent civil rights leader. This would be to judge people on the color of their skin, not the content of their character or talent.
In the past, people would judge a man as less than a man because of the color of his skin. Today, people are encouraging us to judge a man as more important than others because of the color of his skin. Is either of these just? No. We cannot take the accidents of biology, like the color of eyes, skin, or hair, as being what’s most important about a person.
When Thomas Jefferson penned his words, “all men are created equal,” he did not mean that we are created equal in externals, like strength, intelligence, wealth and the like. His great friend John Adams wrote, in his letter to John Taylor of Caroline, dated April 15, 1814:
That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has. This is as indubitable as a moral government in the universe. But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is a gross a fraud, as glaring and imposition on the credulity of the people, as was every practised by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, by priests of the immortal Lama, or by the self-styled philosophers of the French revolution.
To try to force some kind of racial equality using the law is to force everyone to be, in the eyes of the law and of each other, as person of some race. White, black, Hispanic, Amerindian, Asian, whatnot. This sort of reduction of people to their skin tone is the very sort of racism that the Left claims to abhor and to fight. But here they are, apparently calling for it anyway!
As a writer at The Federalist has recently argued, Hollywood will always offend someone. This is because the Left, which largely controls Hollywood, cannot decide which sort of reduction is most important. Race, gender, class, sexual orientation: the adherents of each category fight with the others over which is really the most important.
To reduce a person, a creation of God, to a package of racial and sexual identities is worst sort of racism and sexism. Are the novels of Jane Austen worth more because she is a woman? To say that is to degrade her achievement to that of simply being born female, which is no achievement at all. Instead, her works are priceless because of their portrayal of humanity. So let us judge one another, not by the external qualities of race or gender, but by the character and abilities of each of us.
For more content on this subject, visit Chris McDonald’s blog.