Don’t believe anyone who says it’s a slow, trickle-down process. Don’t buy into that “be patient” nonsense. There is no reason that writers, cast, and crew are anything less than representative of the population other than an absolute willingness to uphold the status quo.
When a person in power says “do it”, it gets done.
Linda Holmes, the host of one of my very favourite podcasts, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, mentioned a conversation she and Variety’s Mo Ryan had with John Landgraf, the CEO of FX, at the Television Critics Association 2016 press tour. The FX Network likes to see itself as a leader, yet was trailing horribly in terms of diversity and inclusion. From Variety, “In the 2014-15 TV season, only 12% of FX’s directors were women or people of color… At the moment, 51% of the directors booked by FX and FXX are men and women of color, or white women.”
Although creators on FX retain tremendous decision-making power, Mr. Landgraf threw all his weight and support behind hiring more diverse crew members. When that happened, things changed. Very, very quickly. Continue reading “Inclusion Happens When Declared”
There is a growing awareness that representation, both in staffing and in final product, has a profound impact on social and business outcomes. Media and gaming companies like Facebook, Blizzard Entertainment, and Bioware, among others, are making efforts – with varying degrees of success – to increase the inclusion of women in influential roles. Their dedication to increasing representation of minorities, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA communities is not as clear, nor is their interest in accurate depictions of world cultures.
Note: this rest of this post is being relocated to a class blog as part of an assignment. When complete, it will be available here: The November Module. In the meantime, please enjoy these two videos with Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. The first explains what the Bechdel Test is. The second addresses “Gamergate” on the Colbert Report.
Diversity has a long way to go in film, media, and gaming, but companies are becoming more aware of the benefits of building it into both staffing and end product. Some more successfully than others.
Last week I attended the Dublin Web Summit. Made some good connections in the Irish film community. Saw some great talks, too. Sadly, only 15% of the speakers were female.
Recently spoke to a friend at Blizzard, creators of the extremely popular Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises, as well as the upcoming Overwatch game. He pointed me to Anthony Burch, who works at Gearbox creating games, among other endeavours. He said that Mr. Burch makes an effort not to over sexualise female characters. In part it’s just because he’s aware of the problems it creates, in part it’s because of his sister – with whom he produces a web series – and in part it’s because he recognizes that female gamers are a large portion of the gaming audience. Bravo, Mr. Burch! Continue reading “Making connections: diversity in media”