You do? Well take a look at this.
It’s really interesting and well-done. Now, take a gander in the lower left corner. I’m referring to this:
The 300 scripts sampled were written by 270 male writers, 22 female writers and 8 mixed-gender duos.
I’d like to say this is a surprise but, hey, this blog is called The Twelve Percent for a reason…
I really don’t know what the root of this can be. Is it the collaborative effort? Is it the formatting restriction? Is it the length and depth of the narrative? Is it a lack of participation in the feedback process?
Seriously, where the ladies at? Anyone?
And, of course, everyone on reddit is making excuses for this…
I don’t think there is a lot of overt sexism. There aren’t a bunch of people saying “we won’t hire female writers,” but there are a lot of people who believe women can’t write comedy/action/horror/etc. There are probably less aspiring female writers than aspiring male writers, probably because movies are mostly about men. Why should women put their energy into a medium that doesn’t respect them?
I wouldn’t say women are any more respected as novelists, but the gender split of novelists is much more reflective of society-at-large for some reason. And these stats are captured at the level of a reader… So these were scripts that were either submitted for directly paid coverage or through a contest (which is usually a free-for-all) or by an exec of some type who wanted these read. Now, there could be some subtle sexism on that level but, on this scale, this looks to me a bit like women just aren’t submitting scripts to professionals to solicit feedback or sales at the same rate that men are.
Anecdotally, I’ve had several conversations with female writers lately and have been shocked to hear that a majority of them were absolutely scared of the feedback process. I’ve been a writer forever, so feedback is as natural as breathing to me. I don’t have my identity wrapped up in what people say about my work. But even that seems a whole lot more rare than I would have guessed. Again, I’m not trying to generalize, but I think there might be some common denominators we’re not discussing out loud, you know?
There may be something to the idea of women holding onto their work for longer than they should, and men releasing their work sooner than they should. I’ve swapped critiques or been in a writer’s group with about 10-15 men and only 2-3 women.
There is also the whole men are taught to be aggressive, women are taught to be passive thing. Men might be more likely to actually ask people to read their script or get it out there, whatever out there actually means. There are people who make the argument that men are more used to rejection what with the onus being on men to ask women out.
I don’t know how much credence their is to the women write movies people don’t want to read/make argument. Are women more likely to write drama, period, tearjerkers, romances? This particularly sample was mostly horror/action/thriller, which are generally considered stuff men care about and men write.
I don’t think there is overt sexism, but I am guessing that the whole movies are about men mentality is keeping a lot of women from entering the screenwriting world. I got into movies because my dad was really into movies. Back in highschool, I didn’t notice that all the movies I liked were about men and that women were secondary. If I had, I don’t know if I would have been drawn to screenwriting. Even now, I choose to work in more women friendly genres. Is it because I like romantic comedies or because romantic comedies allow women to be characters? Or is that why I like romantic comedies? It’s impossible to say. If I recall the chart correctly, “underdeveloped female characters” was one of the most common problems.