Hollywood’s institutionalised sexism

Several media outlets including The Wrap have carried articles today about the “celluloid ceiling” – the long-term institutionalised sexism of Hollywood’s motion picture industry.

The data is sourced from Martha Lauzen’s recent report “The Celluloid Ceiling:Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2009”. According to Lauzen, the percentage of women involved as directorss, producers, cinematographers and associated roles is low and declining:

In 2009, women comprised 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.  This represents a decline of 3 percentage points from 2001

The graph below says it all. As you can see, men still dominate Hollywood.

Historical Comparison of Percentages of Women Employed in Key Behind-theScenes Roles, 1998-2009. Source: Martha Lauzen

The Wrap carried an interview with high-grossing director Catherine Hardwicke, of Twilight fame.

Catherine Hardwicke …  directed 2008’s “Twilight,” the first in the hugely successful vampire franchise, but Hardwicke told The Wrap she was prevented from even pitching to direct “The Fighter.”

“I couldn’t get an interview even though my last movie made $400 million,” she said to The Wrap. “I was told it had to be directed by a man — am I crazy?” said Hardwicke, who also noted she liked what David O. Russell did on the film. “It’s about action, it’s about boxing, so a man has to direct it … But they’ll let a man direct “Sex in the City” or any girly movie you’ve ever heard of.”