Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee, only six women win Oscars, and Rita Moreno is my new hero. Have a productive Monday.
• OscarsSoSame. With its carefully planned outfits, jokes, and acceptance speeches, the Academy Awards ceremony is a reflection of the current zeitgeist in the U.S. And for better or worse, a major topic of conversation this year was—as in 2017—women.
Last year’s ceremony took place roughly a month after President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the historic Women’s March on Washington. Meryl Streep got a standing ovation—in part because she’d called down the president’s ire for critiquing him in her 2017 Golden Globes speech. (He tweeted that Streep was “overrated.”) And a number of actresses wore Planned Parenthood pins to show their support of the organization after Trump threatened to defund it. (He’s quietly making good on that promise.)
A year later, Hollywood has traded Planned Parenthood pins for ones bearing the Time’s Up campaign logo. Host Jimmy Kimmel reminded everyone that, “What happened with Harvey and what’s happening all over is long overdue.” Presenter after female presenter nodded to the difficulties of being a woman in Hollywood. Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek (all Harvey Weinstein accusers) addressed the #MeToo movement during their speech. Presenters Sandra Bullock and Emma Stone each handed out awards in categories where there was only one female nominee and made sure to point out as much. And let’s not forget the moment Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s Frances McDormand asked every female nominee in the room to stand. “Look around,” she told the audience. “Because we all have stories to tell, and projects to finance.”
While it would seem that Hollywood is becoming more aware of gender issues and that steps are being taken to create a more female-friendly film industry, the data suggest otherwise. The representation of women on screen actually declined in 2017, according to San Diego State University’s (SDSU) It’s A Man’s (Celluloid) World report. Female leads comprised 24% of protagonists in the 100 top domestic grossing films last year—five percentage points fewer than in 2016. That’s despite the release of top-grossing films like Wonder Woman and Girls’ Trip last year. And only 32% of films featured 10 or more female characters in speaking roles (compared to 79% with 10 or more such male roles).
Behind the scenes, signs of progress are equally scant. According to another SDSU study, Celluloid Ceiling, women accounted for 18% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films in 2017, a number that’s on par with women’s representation in 1998—two decades ago.
The dearth of women behind the scenes is part of the reason just six women won Oscars yesterday (compared to 33 men). And two of the women won in the gender-specific categories: Frances McDormand for Best Actress and Allison Janney for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. That means just four women won in categories in which they were competing with men: Lucy Sibbick (Best Makeup and Hairstyling), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Best Original Song), Rachel Shenton (Best Short), and Darla K Anderson (Best Animated Feature Film). Notably, each of these women shared their awards with men.
All in all, it seems the conversation about gender that’s dominating awards season for the second year in a row is, at least for now, mostly just that: a conversation. Those are good to have, but not nearly enough.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Conway clings on. Kellyanne Conway is one of few remaining prominent aides from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that remains in the White House. According to the NYT, “she has survived by knowing when to step back from the spotlight, keeping the president’s ear, focusing on a policy issue significant to the poor and working class, and maintaining an unflinching loyalty to President Trump even as she outmaneuvers rivals on the staff.”
New York Times
• Aly takes action. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee for failing to take action to prevent former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor Larry Nassar from molesting hundreds of women. Says Raisman of the decision to sue: “I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”
• No more best “actresses.” Michael Bronski, a professor of the practice in activism and media studies of women, gender, and sexuality at Harvard University, argues that the entertainment industry should get rid of the “Best Actress” category. He writes: “None of the difficulties women in Hollywood face are caused by the word ‘actress,’ but they are the product of the language and thinking that creates and reinforces a false separation between men and women—almost always to the detriment of women. Surrendering the use of ‘actress’ will not solve this problem, but it will begin to reshape how we think about it.”
• 56 years later… West Side Story star Rita Moreno is the Internet’s newest hero: The actor wore the same gown Sunday that she donned on Oscar night in 1962. The 86-year-old is also one of 12 people to have achieved EGOT status: She’s won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• You can’t sit with us. The Guangzhou government has reserved cars for female passengers worried about being groped and harassed—but they’re still full of men. “The women-only subway cars are in many ways a metaphor for China. It is a country with too many laws but, in many areas, too little enforcement. The government bans gender discrimination but does not define what it is. Those who complain risk getting punished. As a result, women who have been sexually harassed rarely file police reports. Offenders are almost never brought to justice.”
New York Times
• Welcome to broland. Researchers from Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research Recruitment sat in on tech company recruiting sessions at a top-tier West Coast university; their findings hint at what’s keeping women out of tech jobs: “As students entered, women were often setting up refreshments or raffles and doling out the swag in the back; the presenters were often men, and they rarely introduced the recruiters. If the company sent a female engineer, she often had no speaking role; alternatively, her role was to speak about the company’s culture, while her male peer tackled the tech challenges.”
• Meet Young Hollywood. Teen Vogue put together this list of the women of Young Hollywood, “each of whom is breaking barriers, advocating for equality, and fighting for better representation.” The class includes Sasha Lane, Letitia Wright, Ellie Bamber, Margaret Qualley, Laura Harrier, Awkwafina, Bria Vinaite, and Storm Reid.
ON MY RADAR
Prominent tech conference faces backlash for keynote lineup: 19 men, 1 woman
Facebook lets ads bare a man’s chest. A woman’s back is another matter.
New York Times
There’s a life-sized Harvey Weinstein “casting couch” statue on Hollywood Boulevard
Lindsey Vonn: My last Winter Olympics was about so much more than medals