A hashtag on Twitter is helping highlight women working in Hollywood and encouraging the industry to take note of them.
When Women and Hollywood unveiled their totally depressing infographic about the lack of women directors hired by major studios recently, most people weren't all that surprised. The information revealed that by and large, the major Hollywood studios (the Big 6 as they are known) are not hiring women to helm major releases. But after a few ragey comments on the Internet and a solemn vow to start renting more films made by women, what else is there to do? After all, we're up against some of the biggest money making corporations in the world—Sony, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros and Universal.
But a few people on Twitter, including Miriam Bale, Mynette Louie and Oscar-nominated director Lexi Alexander, have found something to do about it.
"I was so outraged to read the infographic on Women & Hollywood that under 5% of women are hired for studio projects," Bale told Jezebel. "You hear that number often, and can become desensitized to it. But in this, to see that WB and Universal hired 2.9 and 2.6 percent, respectively, it's so disappointing. As I film critic & programmer I know or have written about so many talented women that would love a studio gig."
Bale said she started the hashtag #hirethesewomen, hoping to see the list grow and so studios would have no excuse to not hire women.
— Mynette Louie (@mynette) June 25, 2014
Probably the 5billionth person to say: Ava DuVernay. #HireTheseWomen
— brittanclaire (@brittanclaire) June 25, 2014
— Stacy Pippi Hammon (@Pippsta) June 25, 2014
— The Director List (@TheDirectorList) June 25, 2014
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 25, 2014
#hirethesewomen Sofia Coppola Amy Seimetz Claudia Weill Mary Harron Elaine May Eliza Hittman
— Miriam Bale (@mimbale) June 24, 2014
— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) June 25, 2014
As IndieWire's /bent blog points out, this isn't just an exercise in hashtag activism:
Women directors might hope to be represented to the studios that might hire them by their agents, but it's not always that simple. Firstly, it's a lot harder for women to even find an agent (browse the client list of any agency you like if you don't believe us) and even when they do, agents are predisposed to present their safest bets to potential hirers. In an industry where women are habitually seen as a risk simply because of their gender, it's clear what happens next.
But in the age of Twitter, drawing attention to the women directors who are out there, qualified and available to be hired really can help increase their visibility. There are large numbers of industry insiders on Twitter, and even more who pay attention to what's being said.
"In making the list I noticed that some of these women were not on studios radars most likely, and just needed a chance," said Bale. "And some of them were talented women who had a box office or critical failure that ended their career. But it seems as if many men have failures and then go on to even bigger success."
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm feeling pretty empowered just reading the list of names circulating on that hashtag. Follow #hirethesewomen for more.
Image via Shutterstock.