Ericson Just

Comedian, Podcaster, Etc...

An Open Thought On What I Don't Know Involving Women In Hollywood

A.K.A the kind of thing I hold back from writing about because of my limited knowledge and the way we seem demonize each other. 

Okay. I’m going to sort this out in my head live on a public forum cause it’s a subject that means a lot to me and it just seems to keep on becoming a bigger topic of conversation. But if anyone is reading this and wants to point out where I am wrong or misinformed, please do.

So as I understand it there is a set minimum on the Screen Actors Guild that is universal for performers of any gender and it’s adjusted by budget. That’s how I remember it. Any rate paid above that is negotiated by the artist with the producer. Which means Chris Pratt get’s paid what he gets based off of what his and his management team are able to convince the filmmakers is worth investing in him, what the market will bear (a very Republican idea). Same goes for Jennifer Lawrence and Lawrence Fishburn. 

It’s a free market and the actors can choose to work for more or less as long as they don’t go below the union minimum which makes sure they’re making what is considered a reasonable wage for that actors (which is already more than I make in a week). But at the end of the day it’s an contractual agreement much like any other freelance job.

So accepting the premise that women make less on average than man in the field of ACTING alone… what are the causes of this? My only two assumptions are that it is true that women aren’t negotiating as hard as they're make counterparts or that Hollywood Producers are undervaluing female names in contrast to their male counterparts (i.e: Bradd Pitt and Angelina Jolie headlining is more valuable than Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie headlining which is less valuable than Brand Pitt and Marion Cotillard). And maybe it’s a mixture of both.

But is there any other factor I’m missing? 

Because if that’s the case it seems the answer is rather simple: we just need more people who value female talent to work in these industries. We need more people who care about equal pay to be producing these films. We need a movie going public who is more vocal in the female talents they want to support… And with the way the majority works… I don’t know if that will ever happen in mainstream film… because to me mainstream film is a lot like pornography. Sure, some people make pieces of art that transcend the medium but the majority of what is produced for the masses is self-indulgent pleasure fantasies made to rub the brain’s pleasure button into dust. And while it’s a noble idea to make people value character over charisma and beauty it’s not as guaranteed a sell — for fuck sake everyone I talk to who loves La La Land don’t it because of the writing but because Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s characters are so charming, so attractive. 

This year a friend of mine came back from Sundance and observed that all of the three films he saw featured main characters that were women making choices that moved the entire story into motion. And while I was upset he didn’t see the movie I told him to see I realized mine fell into that category as well. There’s a movement in the independent film market that is demonstrating the kind of progress that so many people seem to be fighting for. There’s a good chance that may enervate the mainstream in the future but taste isn’t something you can force in people, however base and puerile their own taste may be. 

I guess what I’m saying is… what are we actually fighting for today when it comes to women in Hollywood? Why do I feel like I’m missing something?