Sunday, February 12, 2012

We Are Not Tokens, Do Not Create For Us

The disproportionate ratio of men to women in television and film programming is a very alarming trend in media. Considering that women make up the majority of the population of the USA (and the GLOBE) and thus, are the majority of television and film audiences, it is not only alarming but a little surprising to learn that the number of women involved in the writing, directing and production of these media forms is so low. Even shows purposely targeted at women and families are mostly written and directed by men, which does not seem very logical. The low numbers of women in such positions in the media can be attributed to various things; including the economy and subconscious sexism. There are fewer women in such positions because networks and major film studios are afraid that women are just not as good as the men, even when it comes to producing shows/movies TARGETED at women.

The piece that most struck me was Pamela Ribon's 'The Magical Vulva of Opportunity.' I found this piece particularly interesting because it relayed the experience of a woman actually in the industry and who has suffered with the institutional sexism. I was a little surprised at the manner in which her male colleagues treated her as nothing more than a "token" writer. They had the perception that she would always manage to move from "failed sitcom to failed sitcom" not because of her talent as a writer but simply because she was a woman and studios would hire female writers like herself to fulfill some sort of quota requirement. As a woman (and a minority in many other aspects), I have often faced the same issue. There are many times when people have wondered (out loud to my face and behind my back) if my race and gender had anything to do with my accomplishments. As though my talent and determination were not enough for me to accomplish anything in life. And I have often asked myself the same question. And although I can not say for sure that my minority status has or has not been a factor in my achievements, I can definitely say that I can relate to the writer's frustration at the issue. Especially since these factors that make us 'minorities' usually tend to hinder us from success as opposed to propelling us.

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