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Fact: The movie business is run by straight white guys.

It's not just a feeling, it's a well-documented phenomenon.

According to a study released by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, around 75% of the top executives at film studios are men. And only 3.4% of all film directors and 10.8% of film screenwriters are women. Oh and just in case you forgot, women make up about 50% of the population.


Just a few of the middle-aged white guys making decisions about the movies you see. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon.

And while Hollywood's sexism problem is all over the news these days, many people forget that there are women who've been in this fight for close to 40 years.

In 1979, six women filmmakers put their careers on the line and took on sexism in the industry.

Dubbed, "The Original Six," these directors (Susan Bay Nimoy, Joelle Dobrow, Nell Cox, Dolores Ferraro, Vicki Hochberg, and Lynne Littman) pushed for groundbreaking research on the number of women behind the scenes in filmmaking. Their findings eventually lead to a lawsuit against Warner Brothers and Paramount in 1983.

The suit was dismissed in court in 1985, based on counterclaims from the studios. (The studios said they weren't in charge of all the hiring decisions and couldn't be accused of discrimination.)

Despite the setback, the lawsuit started a conversation — one that's been happening in whispers and screams for decades.

So what do The Original Six have to say about the current state of Hollywood? Plenty.

Four of the women, Dobrow, Cox, Littman, and Hochberg, sat down for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit. They sifted through dozens of questions (and thousands of comments from redditors who refuse to believe sexism exists) to give their thoughts on the industry.

View post on imgur.com

Whether you're in the biz or you just catch movies on Netflix, the women delivered five truths on equality, Hollywood, and social justice that everyone should hear.

1. The fight for equality may be won in waves, and that's OK.

This isn't as simple as "women directors now, everyone else when the time is right" because it's not just representation behind the camera. Strong characters and role models in film are helping to shift the momentum too.

"Victoria here: I am going to speak about role models in movies. We now have Katniss who courageously defends her people with a weapon, Ray [sic] who can pilot a space ship better than Han Solo, and Furiosa who deliberately goes off track to protect other women. There is no way a young girl watching these films will accept that she can't do something like direct movies. I can't wait to see the current ten year olds when someone tells them that."

A fan poses with a wax figure of "The Hunger Games'" Katniss Everdeen. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds.

2. Don't get mad. Get mad and creative.

Half of film school grads are women but less than 2% of the top-grossing films of 2013 and 2014 were directed by women. That may be a discouraging disconnect, but the tide is shifting toward scrappy, creative producers, directors, and writers.

Take 31-year-old jill-of-all-trades Issa Rae. She developed her own web series, "Awkward Black Girl" in 2011. Her show caught the attention of Pharrell Williams and other influencers. She's now working on a comedy pilot and recently joined forces with HBO on an opportunity to give other traditionally underrepresented creatives an opportunity in the television industry.

"Victoria here: The world has changed. But basic truths remain. Change happens when the haves are forced to share. That is brought about in many different ways: Constant protest, demanding accountability, legal assaults. Entry level positions (episodic tv) are still very bad for women. Make your own film and be your own Hollywood via your cell phone (camera) and computer (editing and distribution). Just remember- you are supported by all woman of good will."

Rae at the 2016 Essence Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon. Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for Essence.

3. Your cause may be important, but it's not always the most important.

When a redditor asked if women directors should push the UN Commission on the Status of Women to help them achieve 50/50 representation in Hollywood by 2020, Littman effectively said, "pump the brakes." In the scheme of things, this effort is about women finding fulfilling creative work, a drop in the problem-bucket when women are being killed, assaulted, and disenfranchised around the world. It doesn't mean you stop trying, it just means other victories are life and death, so this one may not be a priority for everyone all the time.

"Lynne here: Among Chris Rock's most brilliant comments on the Oscar telecast: 'When your gramma is swinging from a tree, don't worry about who won best cinematographer.... etc.' The UN Commission should be concerned with saving women's lives, ending honor killings, female mutilation and voting rights. AND ... 50/50 by 2020 is Science Fiction."

Demonstrators protest violence against women on International Women's Day. Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Hey dudes, you have a part to play in this too.

It's not solely up to women to dismantle systemic sexism. I'll say it again for the good of the group: It's not solely up to women to dismantle systemic sexism. Allies are vital!

One redditor highlighted director/producer J.J. Abrams who said ahead of his next projects, he wants agents to send him lists of directors, writers, and producers that better represent the true makeup of the country.

Not surprisingly, The Original Six are totally on board with Abrams and any other male allies who believe in the cause.

"Lynne here: I think it's GREAT! Doesn't matter how we get there. Creative producers with power eliminate the middle-men — they can hire us directly. Bravo!"

J.J. Abrams speaks at South By Southwest. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW.

5. Want to fight for equality? Stir the pot and help other women.

When asked what the most important thing women could do to improve equality, Hochberg said disruption and connection are paramount.

"Victoria here: The most important thing for all of us to do is to NOT accept the status quo. Also, women must help other women. Women who can, must hire other women. Also, push for diversity casting."

A toast among guests at Glamour's Women Rewriting Hollywood Lunch at Sundance. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Glamour.

Though The Original Six are still working as creative professionals and fighting for equality, last year the federal government picked up where they left off.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began interviewing women directors last fall to see what, if any, course of action they should pursue to ensure these large production companies comply with the Civil Rights Act. On paper, it looks like the studios may be breaking Title VII, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, national origin, or religion.

There's more to come in this case, but whether the government intervenes or not, there's a lot we can do to support and encourage women-led projects.

Seek them out. Buy tickets. Share great work. Together, we'll win.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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