Change rarely happens organically, and gender equality, in both Hollywood and the world at large, is the sort of issue that requires a forceful push by those who see the need for change. But the fact of the matter is, when it comes to the womaning-up of Hollywood, the people doing the pushing behind the scenes are mostly male. The Lego Movie sequel will have lady stuff as imagined by two dudes. Lady Ghostbusters was greenlit because it’s the brainchild of a man. I don’t have gender breakdowns of studio executives, but I’d bet my left ovary the decisions coming out of Warner, Marvel, and Sony originated in male-dominated meetings. And while the execs’ hearts may be in the right place, their minds are on getting people talking about their movies, and eventually getting butts in seats. If that means adding in some “female stuff,” hey, everybody wins, right?
Well, do they? While Hollywood is finding ways to slot women into its preconceived projects, female creators with their own ideas toil in the trenches to get their smaller, personal projects made. Two of this year’s best movies written and directed by women, Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s new Beyond The Lights, took years of finagling and compromising on the part of their creators, and were eventually released on a relatively small scale. Meanwhile, of the 39 major studio releases originally slated for summer 2014, only one was directed by a woman, and even that comes with a big fat asterisk: That one film, Jupiter Ascending, which Lana Wachowski wrote and directed with her brother Andy, was pushed to 2015, thereby decreasing this past summer’s number of female-directed major releases to exactly zero.
–Genevieve Koski, at the Dissolve, on Hollywood’s “female stuff” problem.