#OscarsSoWhite – Hollywood’s diversity failure

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The OscarsSoWhite hashtag has the backing of some substantial evidence that the Hollywood film and TV industry is far from inclusive. New studies into diversity in Hollywood, both behind and in front of the cameras, have highlighted the mass whitewashing of the media industry.

However, it is not merely the underrepresentation of people of colour in film that has been highlighted. In 414 feature films and TV programmes, only 29% of speaking roles were women. On top of this, only 28% of speaking roles were given to people of colour, leaving women and non-binary people of colour in a dire situation. Moreover, only 2% of Hollywood roles were gay, lesbian and bisexual. This widespread lack of inclusion was present across all major studios including Disney and 20th Century Fox.

The industry is not only failing to represent women, people of colour and LGBT+ people on the screen, it is inadequate at representing them behind the scenes. The study, which was conducted by USC’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative found that almost 85% of directors and more than 70% of screenwriters were male.

The author of the study described the film industry as ‘a straight, white, boy’s club’ and suggested that OscarsSoWhite should be changed to HollywoodSoWhite, in keeping with her findings which show that film doesn’t reflect the world and its inhabitants.

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About Charlotte Maxwell

Charlotte Maxwell is a Vada Magazine staff writer.