The Shift in Hollywood for Women

Women wore black at the BAFTA Awards, following the Golden Globes demonstration. Courtesy of Glamour.com

By Katarina Ivancik

March is National Women’s History Month, and right now in Hollywood, female directors, producers, and actors are making history.  For decades the movie industry has been a male dominated field, but within the last several years women have come forward to revolutionize the way Hollywood makes movies.  

Most recently this shift has been seen in the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements.  Actresses have been stepping forward and shedding light on the sexual harassment within the entertainment industry.  The promotion of the movement has flooded social media and is represented on the red carpet by actresses wearing black in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment.  Speaking out against producers and directors has the potential to destroy careers, but for the first time the women of Hollywood are fearlessly putting their jobs on the line in favor of change.  This behavior has been going on for too long, but the tide is turning in Hollywood and the women of the industry are not afraid to make waves.

In 2017 Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman became the biggest blockbuster ever to be directed by a woman, breaking the domestic box office record for women directors.  Additionally, Wonder Woman is the most successful superhero movie starring a female hero.  For years producers have said that a superhero movie starring a woman could not be successful whenever the public has asked why none of the female heroes had a movie. This prediction did not stop Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman from excelling at the box office and proving them all wrong.   

Another female pioneer of the industry is Reese Witherspoon. She owns a production company called Hello Sunshine, which is dedicated to telling female driven stories on different multimedia platforms.  It will continue sharing it’s inspirational content in conjunction with Witherspoon’s other company, Pacific Standard.  Pacific Standard is responsible for critically acclaimed films such as Hot Pursuit and Gone Girl.  Women creating more and better opportunities for other women is affecting the gradual change being seen in present day Hollywood.

The 2018 Oscars featured some fantastic female driven movies such as I, Tonya, Lady Bird, and The Shape of Water.  One of the nominees for best actress, Saoirse Ronan is a prime example of a young actress making her way in Hollywood, breaking the mold, and forging a new way.  In the entertainment world it had been established that in order for a woman to be a successful actress she had to be willing to exploit her body. Ronan has been nominated for an Oscar three times now and she did it without a sex scandal or leaked nudes.  This is what the future of Hollywood should look like.

In the last several years things have been changing, but there are still things that need to be addressed. For example, although the rampant sexual harassment has been outed, there needs to be a plan to make sure that it is not able to continue or resurface in any capacity.  The industry must continue to allow women producers, directors, and actors to have the same opportunities as men. The recent shift in Hollywood has revealed the possibilities of the future but there are still things to accomplish before the playing field is truly even.

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