The film industry is extremely male-dominated. According to Women Make Movies, as of 2013, only 6 percent of filmmakers are female.
Filmmaking has been a boys’ club since sound came into play, said Anne Slatton, lecturer in the mass communication department.
“A bunch of literal men’s clubs opened up in Hollywood and women were not allowed,” Slatton said, “and that was where you would make contacts and move up the ladder, so I would say the transition from silent to talkies pretty much annihilated women.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, only 16 percent of directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors are women, thus making a majority of the people of higher-ups male.
Lori Horvitz, director of the women, gender and sexuality studies program said that filmmaking is a boys’ club from the very start of film school.
“If most of the people who have the money and are financing younger filmmakers are men,” Horvitz said, “usually they’re gonna find people they can connect to and have this brotherly or fatherly connection with.”
. Both Slatton and Horvitz describe the female filmmakers’ predicament as a catch-22 situation, thus making in harder for women to gain leeway in the directing world.
“You have to have a job to get a job,” Slatton said, “but how are you gonna get a job? I think that’s kind of the rut that women have fallen into.”
Aside from career-oriented issues that come from the underrepresentation of females in filmmaking, cultural and societal problems arise as well, Horvitz said. People go to movies for entertainment and escape, but they escape to the sexist, white, heterosexual world that just propagates the status quo.
Austin Whyatt, freshman literature student from Grand Blanc, Michigan, said when all the characters in almost every film are written by men, viewers are are looking at those characters from a male point of view, and that is not how society should always see things.
Aspiring female directors are often encouraged not to try because they may fail, Horvitz said.
Change is slow, however, the field is starting to open up, Slatton said. Getting more women into executive jobs, having more female producers, and taking chances on first-time female directors are the next steps.
“I’m not saying that men are horrible,” Horvitz said. “I think men are all part of the system. We’re all part of the system that kind of perpetuates this sexism and racism, and people just need to be more conscious of it. Just be conscious of it and talk about it and spread the ideas.”