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A Female Hollywood Producer Details How Industry Discriminates Against Women

A Female Hollywood Producer Details How Industry Discriminates Against Women

READ MORE: ‘Shit People Say to Women Directors’ Highlights Sexism in the Film and TV Industry

Film and television producer Mynette Louie (“California Solo,” “Land Ho!”) has taken to the web to pen an eye-opening rundown of the various ways in which Hollywood gives women “a raw deal.” Over at Vulture, the Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award winner and president of Gamechanger Films provides an alternately enlightening and infuriating insider’s look at how female professionals are forced to function inside the industry. Louie’s piece includes insights from both her own experiences and those of other female filmmakers, much of it inspired by the recently launched (and almost immediately viral) Tumblr account Shit People Say to Women Directors.

Louie’s sources were asked to sound off on the kind of sexism and discrimination they have faced in their working world — as Louie notes, “These minor offenses are often committed by people who have no idea that they’re doing it, but they can add up, contributing to the cloud of sexism that will continue to choke Hollywood female filmmakers” — ultimately finding a number of examples that fall under four umbrellas.

The first example that pops up is the so-called “Babysitting Barrier,” in which female professionals — even directors! — are all but babysat by male collaborators. Louie spoke to director Karyn Kusama, who shared an experience of “arranging a meeting with a potential cinematographer and then having her male producers insist that they be present, too.” Insulting enough, but Louie continued on, “Kusama’s meeting with the cinematographer went from bad to worse, though, when the man told her, ‘How terrible for your child that you’re leaving him behind to direct this movie.’ Never mind the fact that this man had kids of his own!”

Louie also turns an eye on “The Mini-Me Problem,” which sees “key players’ desire to seek collaborators who are similar to themselves — not just in terms of taste and perspective but also culture, background, and, yes, gender.” Louie specifically points to the hiring of the relatively green Colin Trevorrow to helm major blockbuster “Jurassic World,” as Brad Bird touted his talents to producer Frank Marshall because of how much he saw of himself in Trevorrow’s work. That same idea also ties into the chummy feeling that dominates so much of studio Hollywood, a “who you know” style of working that seeps into so many parts of the industry.

The Vulture piece gets more and more horrifying as it winds on, with Louie’s third example enough to make anyone’s head explode: It’s called “Knee-Jerk Disrespect,” and it speaks to the common assumption that a woman who is on-set isn’t in a position of power. Louie herself shares, “The first time my crew meets me on set, they rarely assume I’m the producer and treat me with little regard. I’ve been called ‘doll’ and ‘sweetheart’ by crew who should’ve been calling me ‘boss’…This happens off-set, too, at cocktail parties and networking events where I’m either ignored or gritting my teeth through a whole lot of windbaggery and mansplaining before I even get to introduce myself.”

Louie, however, isn’t just indicting men, she’s also unafraid to address the concept of “Spotty Solidarity,” which hinges on the “lack of support for female directors from other women in the industry.” As Louie notes, “The Hollywood psyche is so thoroughly dominated by men, in fact, that even the few women in power are often of no help.”

Still, Louie is optimistic about the future, noting that “there’s been a recent surge in women-run production companies that are dedicated to investing in female filmmakers,” along with more mainstream interest in snagging talented women for big jobs. Her entire piece is an essential read, so head on over to Vulture to for the full — and very smart — read. 

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Comments

Jim Pallett

Minette is a well respected creative force, and a such, she is conscious of social inequities wherever she may find them. Men and women pacifist political prisoners in China being killed without legal process for their vital organs, the subjugation of Tibet, school boys being beaten up in boys bathrooms in schools everywhere, little girls being sexually disfigured in Great Britain, Europe, and Africa, a road being built through Africa using convict labor, child soldiers in Africa being taught to rape and murder… here in America social adjustments such as those Minette aludes to require attention so that we may better create sensitive art that improves all of humanity, don’t you think?

Hieronymous Von Pillory

Rule #1 – Any woman or man who uses the made up sexist word "mansplaining" will be fired on the spot.

Also, SHOCK SHOCK HORROR HORROR SHOCK SHOCK HORROR, women have to play the same "who you know" game as men, and don’t just get hired for being women! Wowsers, the injustice! Call the Justice Department!

Less whining, more creating worthwhile shorts, scripts, and projects (that don’t revolve around uteri, "mansplaining," sexism, or any other topic that no one outside of the SJW nincompoop gallery cares about.

FINKMAG

This is a wide spread problem due to a historically male dominated industry that was birthed during a time when men and women had very specific roles. My wife is a film producer as well, so I’ve seen this first hand. Disgusting! It will get better though…

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