Monday, February 13, 2012

The Woman in the Room

When questioning “Why is Television Losing Women Writers,” I find it fascinating that the discussion often revolves around genre and audience targeting, when these claims do not do justice to the systematic implications of the writers in Hollywood. There are the obvious standout female producers and writers (i.e. Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey), but the real issue at hand is that only 15% of the writers for prime-time television are women. Even though “Grey’s Anatomy” is a prime-time hit, critics and viewers still harp on the “femininity” of the show and its soap opera feel is due to its female creator. That means that shows produced essentially “for women” are falling in the hands of men (i.e. Marc Cherry of “Desperate Housewives” and Darren Star of “Sex and the City”). Juxtaposing these male-produced shows to those produced by women illuminates some inherent discrepancies between the vision of how men see female relationships, issues and desires to the way that women view themselves under the limelight. The math just does not add up; if the majority of television viewers are women, why are women mostly absent from the process of creating this media?

I resent the notion that women writers can only seem to create “soap-opera” type films and television programs simply because their nature better suits this genre; while men are given the benefit of the doubt in being able to produce all types of media. I wish there was more focus on female standouts like Diablo Cody. She created (what will be a cult classic) “Juno” and the series “United States of Tara,” which are both unique and not “feminine” comedy outliers. The brutal irony of Diablo’s success is that a large portion of her fame stemmed from her previous career as a stripper. Of course she was honored for her witty genius and hilarious character development, but the more astounding facet of her life (for many) is her racy past. Maybe Diablo really did uncover the mystery of “The Magical Vulva of Opportunity.”

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