Meryl Streep isn’t typically known to speak against the film industry, but the prestigious actress had a few words at this week’s Women in Film Crystal and Lucy gala. It’s no surprise that films like John Carter and Battleship that were primed towards a box office success failed, losing millions of money for studio heads. In the case of Disney John Carter’s bomb lost $200 million for Disney.
Streep seems to have a simple fix for the box office bombs as of late, and that’s to listen to the ladies of film. The Oscar-winning actress took to the stage at the gala on Tuesday and said: “In this room, we are very familiar with these dreadful statistics that detail the shocking under-representation of women in our business. Seven to ten percent of directors, producers, writers, and cinematographers [are women] in any given year. This in spite of the fact that in the last five years, five little movies aimed at women have earned over $1.6 billion: The Help, The Iron Lady believe it or not, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia! and The Devil Wears Prada.”
Of course one can note that Streep has starred in three of the five movies she mentioned in her speech, but she does have a point. In 2009, Kathryn Bigelow made history by being the only female director to receive a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Three years later the change has been slow with little movement. A report was released in January 2012 that only 5% of Hollywood’s dictators are women.
Streep, who was there to give an award to Viola Davis, noted this significant loss of mainstream films, continuing: “Alice Walker said that the most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any. That’s like [hearing] that women don’t get raises because they don’t ask for them. It’s incredible.”
Do you agree with Meryl Streep? In 2009 the fact that it was a huge thing for Bigelow to take away an award for Best Director speaks volumes in how behind Hollywood is in giving women recognition and work. What are your thoughts?