Why Are Film Sets Sausage Party's?
Every time I step on a set, it is overwhelmingly dominated by men. I don't believe that all men in the industry are sexist and have created this inequality on purpose, but it does beg the question: Why and how can women filmmakers break the mold?
Before we get to those questions, let me clarify that the "sausage party" epidemic can apply to any film related circumstance. I've been overwhelmingly outnumbered by the opposite gender in film classes, film sets, tv sets, film festivals, and other film related events.
And It's Not Just Me:
> The Hollywood Reporter mentioned that, "Women are still well behind in terms of guild membership and pay for acting and writing. And those numbers haven't really budged in recent years."
>Variety reported that, "In 2014, 85% of films had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors and 92% had no female cinematographers, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University."
But, surely no one is turning women away at the door?
Apparently it's part of the culture. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned in an article that men have been the leaders in the industry forever and it's just difficult to change that because men tend to relate to and hire more men. I can totally see that, part of the hiring process is finding someone you like and want to work with on a regular basis, and if men tend to relate more to other men, then that trend is difficult to break. On the other side, women are pretty kick ass and likable, so..?
I can see why men are hired over women for positions that are labor intensive like G&E, Camera Department, and even Production Assistants. These roles often require heavy lifting, moving things from one area to another, and men generally fill that requirement pretty well. About a month ago, I posted this photo to my Instagram about a shoot I did where I had to go to the Phoenix Airport and help unload 74 cases of film equipment from the carousel onto a dolly cart and then onto 3 SUV's.
As I said in the caption, I was sore. I'm not exceptionally muscular, contrary to popular opinion, so this task was difficult at times and I can imagine the two guys I was helping were hoping the production staff had hired a guy. To be honest, I felt like I was slowing the group down since I could only carry so much at a time. I'm speaking for myself when I say I wasn't the best fit for the task, but I'm not saying all women are not fit.
But even on the management level (no lifting necessary) as a producer, director, unit production manager, etc. women are lacking and that excuse doesn't cover it anymore.
Fusion reported screenwriter Julie Bush saying, “The common, everyday experience for a woman in Hollywood is to be subtly, silently backed away from, shut out of networking, mentoring and socializing opportunities which for men may lead to jobs months and years down the line.” Even in other industries, women can often be pressured to act a certain way following an unwritten list of "do's and don'ts." In general, women that have the characteristics of a strong leader are seen as bossy or unpleasant to work with as compared to men. Climbing up the ladder is also difficult when you're surrounded by male superiors and voicing a conflicting opinion can easily turn into a sexist conversation.
No one remembers the quiet girl, but no one wants to work with the bitch.
Women do seem to have each others backs though. Research shows that television shows with at least one lady creator showed higher percentages of female characters and women in key "behind the scenes roles". I definitely don't have an answer to how do we fix this problem, but I do believe that we live in a world where change happens on every level. Becoming more aware of the current state of inequality as both a woman and a man can really help bridge the divide.
It's definitely awkward to be the only woman on set and treated as such, but it no longer has to be.