You are on page 1of 10

Gabrielle Allen

Mrs. Joshi
11 August 2017
Audience Analysis

This paper will address the people working in major film and television studios in
Hollywood, who have limited the entertainment industry by only promoting the Caucasian crowd
in cinema. These major studios include Time Warner, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Company,
DreamWorks, and 21st Century Fox. Specifically speaking towards white men who are directors,
writers, and producers that solely choose people that look like them to write their script, or even
play their characters. I plan to inform these studios about their narrowminded views have shaped
a very white and masculine Hollywood that we live in today. This includes those who have
discriminated against women from working behind the scenes, and actors of color who have
been misrepresented on screen. The paper will utilize strong research and statics in order to open
the eyes of film and television companies about how women have frequently lost jobs of being
director or a writer to men the gender that has received the job many times before. The paper
will also shed light on the discrimination happening in the industry against actors of color. I will
list several movies and television shows that are at fault of this discrimination, as well as
misrepresentation of the black community. Finally, I will establish exigency by elaborating on
this countrys duty to its people. With the use of evidential appeal, I will remind these major
studios of their responsibility to America. Due to the fact that we live in a beautiful blended
society, it is important that what we see something on screen that resembles that factor. Diversity
is something that this country is famous for. It is valuable and crucial to Americas success.
Therefore, if we want to continue this legacy of the melting pot, we must begin to incorporate
women and actors of color into cinema. I hope to not only address these studios for these
injustices, but also convince them to change their ways for the better of the country.
Gabrielle Allen

Mrs. Joshi


11 August 2017

The Melting Pot in Hollywood

Contrary to popular belief, film and television contain an extraordinary power that many

people are susceptible to, but are unaware that it is occurring. The super power that film and

television possess is none other than persuasion and brainwash. The duo can present any fictional

storyline and make one believe it to be true. The entertainment industry can teleport one into a

different universe that involves exciting adventures that one could never experience outside the

big screen. It can make you fall in love with or completely despise a character. This superpower

is what draws in an array of audiences because society enjoys the thrill, the passion, or even the

persuasion that film and television provide. However, this effect has lately been overshadowed

by more pressing matters related to the big screen. It is clear the entertainment industry has relied

on one specific audience to use their superpower on. Due to being selective of their audience,

they have eliminated a whole group of people who wish to see themselves more frequently on

screen and in a tasteful way. With that said, the entertainment industry has failed women and

minority actors by discriminating against them in the film and television work place.

For one to digest the controversial topic of diversity in the film and television industry,

they must first understand the difference between film and television. Although they both fall

under the same umbrella of entertainment, they are extremely different. To begin with, there is

more prestige and respect in the film industry, meaning that it is more challenging to break into

film then it is to get into television. In film, one spends a certain period of time prepping and
filming a movie that will most likely not get released till the following year or later. Movie

making is also extremely expensive because one has to pay for sets, equipment, and pay their

employees. However, one does not see the fruit of their labor until after the box office tickets are

calculated. Despite how long one spent on creating a film, if it does not perform well in theaters,

then it is a huge loss of money. For this reason, one might assume that film is riskier than

television, but I would beg the differ. Television is vulnerable to cancellations, meaning that a

network can just end a show if the ratings are not well. A network can even cancel a show if

there are complications behind the scenes. Certain complications may involve actors or worker.

Regardless of the previous contract, it is up to the network if they want to end a show. According

to Todd VanDerWerff, cancelations can be erratic and somewhat unpredictable, he noted in his

article entitled, Did your favorite TV show get canceled? Here are 7 reasons it might have, The

changing economics of television now mean that some shows that do pretty well get dumped,

while some that barely skate by are picked up season after season. (VanDerWerff, par 2). The

uncertainty that VanDerWerff describes puts people out of jobs quite frequently.

Another situation that one must comprehend before discussing diversity in this industry is

that the womens and people of colors struggle are not the same. It is obvious that both are

denied jobs in entertainment, but I would argue that one is more frequent due to unethical and

demoralizing thoughts and attitudes. Nevertheless, both are deprived of representation in film

and television. Scholars, Sarah Eschholz , Jana Bufkin & Jenny Long, discuss the both of these

struggles in there journal entitled, Symbolic Reality Bites: Women And Racial/ Ethnic Minorities

In Modern Film. They begin by noting, Hollywood is a white mans world. The overwhelming

majority of directors, producers, and writers of popular films are men, and their films with some

very notable exceptions, represent a traditional social construction of the world where capitalism,
patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity are all represented as both the norm and the ideal.

(Bufkin et al., 25). These scholars boldly address the white men who have made their movies and

televisions shows all through their own eyes. Finally, it is important to view the changes from

past entertainment to modern day. I will acknowledge that there are great movies and television

shows that represent women and minorities well, however it is not enough. It is sad that I can

only name a handful that have fully capture or embraced the idea of diversity in on and off

camera. For example, one recent movie that not only represents women well on screen, but off

screen as well is none other than Wonder Woman. This female centered film was directed by

Patty Jenkins. Her efforts to create a women-empowerment movie does not go unnoticed, as well

as many other female creators, but none the less, America deserves to see more diversity. This

unfortunate situation leads me to the conclusion that despite the very rare glimmers of hope,

Hollywood still fails to see the enriching value of women and performers of color in the

entertainment industry.

This paper will dive in deep of what is missing from the entertainment industry, which is

indeed women and people of color. Our country is a country that invites all genders and colors,

therefore the fact that minorities are still fighting today to be accurately represented on and off

screen is a tragedy that should be not only addressed, but fixed. The intentions of this paper are

to explore the faults of the entertainment industry, in regards to where they failed to correctly

embody women and people of color. It is also crucial to understand why this is the way it is

because issues of sexism or racism require acute attention. It will then smoothly shift into ways

we as a society can make changes that accommodate to all minorities. While addressing the issue

is the first step, we must then attempt to eradicate the faults and then install solutions that will

bring about positive and improving results. Hollywood has failed an entire our country through
excluding the female community from job opportunities behind the scenes and discriminating

against actors of color.

Hollywood has deprived the female from respectful jobs, mainly off camera, in the

entertainment industry. Feminist Sue Thornham, wrote in her book Feminist Film Theory: A

Reader, Finally, of course, womens image in film, can no longer be seen as a simple matter

of misrepresentation, to be corrected by the more realistic portrayals to be produced by an

emerging group of women film-makers (Thornham). Thornham argues that the way women are

portrayed on screen bleeds into the way women are treated off screen. (Thornham). Due to the

fact that in movies and on television, women are illustrated as outlandish sex symbols or

uncappable homebodies, is contributing to why Hollywood still will not hire women as writers or

directors. Thornham goes on to say, One of the most basic connections between womens

experience in film is precisely the relationship of spectator and spectacle (Thornham). The

editor implies that because women have been viewed as a spectacle for so long, they are no

longer given the chance to be a spectator similar to every other man. (Thornham). Women have

lost their authority and their voice on what should go on the screen.

In 2016, women made up only 7 percent of directors on the top 250 films. (Kilday).

Gregg Kilday, a news reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote about the declining women

representation behind the scenes. He goes on to state, In other areas, women comprised a bigger

part of the workforce: Women accounted for 13 percent of writers, 17 percent of executive

producers, 24 percent of producers, 17 percent of editors and 5 percent of cinematographers.

Overall, women comprised 17 percent of the individuals working in the roles studied. (Kilday).

These shocking statics prove that Hollywoods lack of women backstage is a pattern. The

number show some clear signs of narrowminded people who still seem to think that only the man
is capable of telling story through a script. This belief is present in major studios, who choose to

pool from the same group of people, mainly men, to be their directors and writers. These large

studios have a lot of control over film and certain networks, therefore it hard for women to break

into any part of entertainment because these few studios are in charge of many outlets. The

female voice has been silenced by the cinema for too long. It is time for this industry to

recognize the other half of this population and allow them their own creative expression, as they

would any other man.

Similar to women, Hollywood has failed actors of color in many ways more than one.

Despite the continuous outbursts of audiences of color, Hollywood continues to ignore, neglect,

and discriminate against minority performers. Editor Manthia Diawara of Black American

Cinema sees a huge problem with how the black community specifically, is portrayed on screen.

(Diawara). There is fault in the film-makers for illustrating the African American community as

poor, thugs, sexual abusers, or as uneducated. These stereotypes hold back actors of color from

receiving roles that any white person can and does get. The misrepresentation of the African

American community is present in many recent films and shows. One example of stereotype is

seen the film The Devil Wears Parada, where the lead actress, Anne Hathaway, has a black

best friend. This role of the black best friend is extremely common in film and television. The

black best friends goal is to merely support the heroine with a sassy attitude that provides

spunky advice. Unfortunately, this is how black women are viewed on screen, as merely the

friend of the leading lady, never the lead. Another common representation of black people is as

domestics, which is a result of the history of slavery. This can be viewed in the move Gone with

the Win, with the Oscar winning actress Hattie McDaniel. Her role consisted of one word,

mammy, which basically was a sassy cook, who tended to the white folks needs. If
Hollywood continues to view black people as a sassy sidekick or a poor thug, then African

Americans will never be represented efficiently.

On the other hand, Michael Cieply, reporter for the, would strongly

disagree with my previous statements. He would argue that Hollywood has made a stellar

amount of improvement on diversity and believes that, as entitled by his article, that Hollywood

is, Not So White After All: Oscar Nominations End Diversity Drought with New Honorees.

(Cieply). The writer goes on to make bold statements concerning the progress of Hollywood,

And black actors, in the decade culminating in 2014, received a share of nominations and

Oscars approximately matching their share of the U.S. population. (Cipely, par 6). He claims

that black community should be proud that their nominations in over 10 years is approximately

equal to their whole population. (Cieply). I view this statement as extremely ignorant and almost

sarcastic. As the article goes on, he continues to praise Hollywood on their improvement,

specifically in the Oscar Nominations of 2017. (Cieply). Cieply noted, In truth, Hollywood has

changed a great deal in the last year; but what media types like to call The Narrative has clearly

shifted, as the current crop of nominees once more aligns the film business with its professed

commitment to inclusiveness and progressive ideals. (Cieply, par 8). Michael Cipely makes

ridiculous claims based on poor research, rather than listen to the community of people who are

actually being neglected. I reject his desire to make it seem as if everything is all right in the

world and that our country no longer has lack of diversity problems. If Cipely considered having

a conversation with any black performer, in which he would listen to how hard it is to break into

the industry as an African American, then perhaps I would I have a little more respect for his

positive attitude. However, until then, I cannot agree with his blunt, uneducated claims that

Hollywood has exceptional progress in how they address diversity in film and television.
The biggest fault in Hollywood is their choice to continue to entertain solely the

Caucasian male audience because it has hindered women and minorities from reaching their full

potential in the entertainment industry. For decades, Hollywood has relied on the Caucasian

audience to buy their movie tickets and support their tv ratings. This unfortunate trend has

crippled women and minorities from receiving the same treatment as other white people. This

pattern takes place not only on screen, but off as well. With that said, I urge the film and

television industry to begin to include all the citizens of their country on and off camera. The

severity of this situation is taxing on two communities that feel as if their voice is not heard or

their faces are not seen. If the entertainment industry welcomes these communities into their

world, then different groups of people will be able to experience and share their superpower to

all types of people. In addition to that, America will fulfill its title of being the melting pot.
Works Cited

Brown, Jane D., and Laurie Schulze. "The Effects of Race, Gender, and Fandom on

Audience Interpretations of Madonnas Music Vid eos ." Research Gate (2006): n. pag. Web. 24

July 2017.

Bunche, Ralph J. "2016 Hollywood Diversity Report: Business as Usual?" 2016

Hollywood Diversity Report: Business as Usual? (2016): 1-66. Web. 20 July 2017.

Cieply, Michael. "Not So White After All: Oscar Nominations End Diversity Drought

With New Honorees." The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., 24 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 July 2017.

Eschholz, Sarah, Jana Bufkin, and Jenny Long. "SYMBOLIC REALITY BITES:


Spectrum (2011): 1-37. Web. 24 July 2017.

Diawara, Manthia. Black American cinema. London: Routledge, 1993. Print.

Higggins, John M. "TOP 25 TV NETWORKS." The Business of Television. N.p., n.d.

Web. 11 Aug. 2017

Kilday, Gregg. "Study: Female Filmmakers Lost Ground in 2016." The Hollywood

Reporter (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 25 July 2017.

Martinson, Janet. "Diversity on television is not just a black and white issue." Diversity

on television is not just a black and white issue (2016): n. pag. Web. 4 Aug. 2017.

Miranda, Carolina A. "You might see more women and minorities on TV, but Hollywood

has a ways to go when it comes to diversity, report says." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles

Times, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.

O'Connor, John E. "History in Images/Images in History: Reflections on the Importance

of Film and Television Study for an Understanding of the Past ." Oxford Journals 93.5 (1988): 1-

11. Web. 24 July 2017.

Thornham, Sue. Feminist film theory: a reader. New York: New York U Press, 2009.


VanDerWerff, Todd. "Did your favorite TV show get canceled? Here are 7 reasons it

might have." Vox. Vox, 16 May 2017. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.