#OscarsSoWhite? It's really about #HollywoodSoWhite.
The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism just released the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment.
The report comes with a bunch of really helpful charts and other graphics that show how Hollywood's makeup is out of step with the general population.
Why does that matter?
If we're not being shown a world as diverse as the one we live in in the media, we're not seeing the whole picture.
Gender balance is out of whack both behind and in front of the camera.
Women make up roughly 51% of the general population, but when it comes to directing gigs, they make up just 15.2%.
In an ideal world, a population with 51% women would be mirrored with film directors being made up of 51% women — that is, one woman in the real world would be represented by an entire, full woman in the directorial world (nothing more or less).
But it's not like that ideal right now. With 15.2% of all directors being female, it's like saying 1 woman in the real world is only 30% of a full woman in the directorial world.
What does that look like if we visualize one woman in real life shown in proportion to how that woman is represented in Hollywood?
Well, here's 30% of director Kathryn Bigelow:
Or maybe it's easier to see the problem if we look at how men are over-indexed when compared to reality.
Behold! It's 173% of James Cameron.
Again, taking the percent of men making up the population (49%) and looking at it in proportion to the percent of directors that are male (84.8%), you wind up with one man being represented by 173% of a man — showing how men are over-represented in Hollywood.
Even when stepping out from behind the camera and looking at on-screen work, women aren't represented much better.
Again, even though women account for around 51% of the total population in the real world, women only make up around 34% of speaking roles on screens. That means in a proportional world, for every one real-world woman, we get only 66% of a woman in Hollywood.
Here's 66% of Jennifer Lawrence:
To show how this over-indexes men in speaking roles, here's 135% of Bradley Cooper:
People of color are underrepresented in just about every category in the Annenberg diversity report.
While people of color make up around 38% of the population, the study found they make up only about 28% of speaking characters — which means people of color are about one-quarter underrepresented.
By now, you know how this works, so here's what 75% of Idris Elba looks like:
And here's 115% of Daniel Craig:
The diversity in entertainment report from USC included a six-part list of suggestions the entertainment industry could (and should!) adopt to fix this problem:
It's not about quotas or anything like that; it's simply a series of steps people in Hollywood can take to overcome any unintentional biases that may exist to help make better, more diverse entertainment.
1. Develop publicly available inclusion goals.
2. Challenge stereotypes in hiring and storytelling.
3. Create a checks and balances system that addresses implicit bias in storytelling decisions.
4. Build consideration lists of writers and directors proportional to the population in terms of race and gender.
5. Produce evidence-based reports on the performance of films helmed by or starring women or minorities.
6. Keep an eye on progress.
USC proposed the above solution, but there are other ways to fix the problem too — consider what changes would happen if Hollywood used the Bechdel-Wallace test, the newly created DuVernay test, or even Geena Davis’s easy two-step fix.