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What about the Men? Gender inequality data and the rhetoric of inclusion in the US and UK film industries

What about the Men? Gender inequality data and the rhetoric of inclusion in the US and UK film industries
What about the Men? Gender inequality data and the rhetoric of inclusion in the US and UK film industries
This article argues that (cis-, hetero, abled, middle-class, white) men – as a group and as an identity category – are the structuring absence of inequality discourse and, as a consequence, it is ‘diverse’ persons who bear both the burden of and any hope for changing the film industry. By ‘rereading’ gender inequality data, diversity initiatives and inclusion rhetoric, this article shows the ways they elide men’s domination of the film industry and perversely reinforce it as the norm. Articulating how data on gender representation behind the camera can both illuminate inequality and can be used to obfuscate it, the article looks closely at selected reports to see what they do and do not tell us about gender inequality and the unequal presence of men in the industry. As the dominating demographic of the filmmaking workforce, the white middle class male is also the structuring absence of inclusion rhetoric which maintains the status quo of inequality in the film industry by interpellating ‘diverse’ persons as outsiders who must gain the attention of the white middle-class men who may choose to include them.
Diversity, Film industry, british film institute, demographic statistics, gender inequality
1743-4521
112-135
Cobb, Shelley
5f0aaa8a-b217-4169-a5a8-168b6234c00d
Cobb, Shelley
5f0aaa8a-b217-4169-a5a8-168b6234c00d

Cobb, Shelley (2020) What about the Men? Gender inequality data and the rhetoric of inclusion in the US and UK film industries. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 17 (1), 112-135. (doi:10.3366/jbctv.2020.0510).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article argues that (cis-, hetero, abled, middle-class, white) men – as a group and as an identity category – are the structuring absence of inequality discourse and, as a consequence, it is ‘diverse’ persons who bear both the burden of and any hope for changing the film industry. By ‘rereading’ gender inequality data, diversity initiatives and inclusion rhetoric, this article shows the ways they elide men’s domination of the film industry and perversely reinforce it as the norm. Articulating how data on gender representation behind the camera can both illuminate inequality and can be used to obfuscate it, the article looks closely at selected reports to see what they do and do not tell us about gender inequality and the unequal presence of men in the industry. As the dominating demographic of the filmmaking workforce, the white middle class male is also the structuring absence of inclusion rhetoric which maintains the status quo of inequality in the film industry by interpellating ‘diverse’ persons as outsiders who must gain the attention of the white middle-class men who may choose to include them.

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In preparation date: 2019
Accepted/In Press date: 10 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 December 2019
Published date: 1 January 2020
Keywords: Diversity, Film industry, british film institute, demographic statistics, gender inequality

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432939
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432939
ISSN: 1743-4521
PURE UUID: 2760cc82-0898-46c0-9222-0e2939457245
ORCID for Shelley Cobb: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1153-8482

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:00

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