Make of it what you will Department:
The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, which we hear (via its website) is “the most widely cited and trusted source of information on the representation of women in film and television,” has announced that the employment of women in the television industry reached a record high in 2012-2013.
In 2012-13, women accounted for 28% of creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors, and directors of photography working on prime-time programs airing on the broadcast networks. This represents an increase of two percentage points from 2011-12 and a recent historical high. On screen, females comprised 43% of all speaking characters. This figure is even with the historical high set in 2007-08.
So why are we giving you the “Make of it what you will” intro? Well, this seems like kind of a monkey wrench, don’tcha think?
However, many gender stereotypes remain. Female characters are younger than their male counterparts, and are less likely than males to be seen at work and actually working.
So the good news is: More women. (Which often is good even to gender-prejudiced males, but we won’t go into that here.)
But the bad news is: TV still shows women as younger and, you know, not out there in the workplace doing their thing, than the male characters. So a sort of subservience remains the TV Rule of the Day.
And the further bad news, unspoken by The Center for the Study of yada yada: 50% of the population at large having a presence of only 28% in a given creative industry still sucks, damn it. C’mon.
Which takes us back to our central dilemma here. To celebrate or not to celebrate? To cheer tiny gains that reflect reality an itsy bit more or to agitate for changes in the nature of our very social fabric so that the acknowledgement of women’s rights, privileges, and place in our culture is so much a part of our lives that nobody would even think of ignoring it anymore?
Yeah, we rigged that last bit. It’s a false comparison. But so is everything having to do with gender roles on TV. Deal with it, you biased asshats. Now.