It’s no surprise, as many stories of gender inequality have made headlines recently, that Hollywood is still biased. Ultimately, it’s not only a story about gender, though, it’s about diversity in race, age, body type, etc..
After attending the inaugural summit for Women in Entertainment in Los Angeles last week, I have to admit that I was moved by several statistics. One was that in 2015, the ratio of male to female characters is still the same as it was in 1946. The other is that, the same holds true for children’s entertainment. Two-thirds of all leads are male and have been for 59 years. According to Geena Davis, “It’s time for that to change.”
As a virgin in the industry, I was happy to hear the strides being made by multitudes of smart, talented women – thirty-six of them were on stage sharing personal stories and insight – who recognize change isn’t going to be achieved by barking through a bullhorn with a you-better-change-or-else attitude. Lasting change is going to occur when the deep-seated, unconscious patterning of the male-centric mentality is not only spotlighted, but the intensity of that light is amplified. Even then, the shadow side of those making decisions will need to be continually illuminated until they’re implementing informed choices backed by accountability.
Considering that I’m in the process of turning my novel, Complicated…by Design, into a screenplay, I was also delighted to learn that there is a focused attempt to showcase strong, female characters whose realistic stories have an authentic point of view. Hopefully my funny, fictional version of Eat Prey Love meets Trainwreck will be one of those.
In Complicated…by Design, not only did I want to shine a light on the epidemic of judgement in our elite society, I wanted to show that even strong, successful women struggle with empowerment issues, finding balance in daily life and hurdling fear-based roadblocks. Even though I absolutely loved Bridget Jones, I didn’t want to write another character who is bumbling through life wearing big-girl panties. I didn’t want my female protagonist’s sole purpose to be seeking Mr. Right. Nor did I want her to be defined by the same endless pattern of worrying about what everyone else thinks. I made conscious choices to develop a character who is unapologetic as she strives to reach her highest and best good.
My goal is that my movie, Complicated…by Design, will be a small part of the big shift that makes a HUGE difference in Hollywood. Thank you to Women in Entertainment for enlightening me!