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TIFF Long Take - Ep. 8: Breaking Down Hollywood Sexism by the Numbers

Professors Stacy Smith and Katherine Pieper lay out the harsh realities of Hollywood sexism

Apr 14, 2017

It's no secret that Hollywood has a gender bias problem, with males representing about 2/3 of all onscreen roles, and close to 96% of all directors. But how did things get this bad, and more importantly, what can be done to solve this crisis?

To get the answers Rob and Geoff speak with Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of the University of Southern California. Both have done extensive research on what they call Hollywood's "epidemic of invisibility".

The four discuss the data behind Hollywood sexism (2:05), why the industries reliance on old conventions and tired tropes is a big part of the problem (5:45), and why the mythology that a female lead can't carry a film still exists, despite a tonne of evidence to the contrary (9:00).

They also wonder why male filmmakers are given more chances than females (14:45), explain that women are often just as sexualized in G-rated films as they are in R-rated films (17:30), and argue that a groundbreaking film like Hidden Figures might be more of an outlier than a new standard (30:35).

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