An organization called Time’s Up is demanding that film producers take a pledge. It’s called “The 4% Challenge” and the goal is to increase the number of female directors working in the film industry.
Production companies are being asked to make a pledge to hire a female director in the next 18 months.
My first reaction to this news was that this is going to be really embarrassing.
It’s going to look like a public school gym class where team captains start picking their teammates from the class and the last few to be selected are the poor oafs who everyone knows can’t play well.
Historically, the most socially humiliated were the boys who got picked after the team captains had already started selecting girls.
The girls weren’t embarrassed if they didn’t get picked early, but some were pretty keen to show those stupid boys that they could play.
Yes, I grew up when getting picked for a team was based on merit.
Because of this 4% initiative, there will be a race to pick the best female directors first and, 18 months from now, the women who get hired are basically going to look like the bottom of the barrel. No one wants to look like “last pick.”
In fact, in the world of adults, after the first few months of this campaign it’s probably less humiliating for women to just not accept the job and tell people you were busy developing another project. They should just wait it out until the 18 months are up before they accept another film.
And that’s just one of the problems with “affirmative action” initiatives: it causes people to question whether or not the person hired actually deserved the job.
Meanwhile, moviegoers will feel like they’re being made to eat a vegetable they don’t like.
We saw this happen with the all female installment of Ghostbusters. The public was told that anyone who didn’t like it was misogynist but still it was a box office flop. Despite the intense pressure on the public for people to say they liked the film (even if they didn’t) the latest sequel abandoned ship and will be going back to the Ghostbusters grassroots.
Condemnation from those involved in the failed female version won’t make the last film any better. In the grown up world you can’t just cry to get what you want and still pretend to have any dignity.
The female Ghostbuster film didn’t flop because the actors had no talent. The cast is quite accomplished and all of them have done great work in the past. It failed because the film company tried to send a political message in a way that destroyed the entertainment value of their own franchise.
Star Trek Discovery is fighting a similar battle. The focus on a “social justice” narrative has caused many fans to prefer Seth MacFarlane’s parody version called The Orville. Though critics have insisted that the parody isn’t better, and told the audience that they are wrong, it hasn’t changed the way consumers are spending their time and money.
People may pretend to like something on Twitter but the truth comes out in the box office.
The Hollywood Reporter published a graph on Twitter that attempts to support the Time’s Up “4% challenge” but seems to accomplish the opposite.
The graph compares women employed in specific types of film initiatives to women whose films actually made money in the box office. It rapidly drops off. Comparing higher employment figures to abysmally low profit results indicates that women simply aren’t making movies that audiences want to watch.
But it doesn’t tell us why.
The graph doesn’t explain why audiences still refuse to watch the all female Ghostbusters even though the public was told they were horrible humans if they didn’t like it.
Getting people to “like” and “retweet” some outrage on Twitter isn’t going to sell more movie tickets and it will probably turn the Academy Awards into a farce. In 2020. we may all have to tune in to find out which movie was the least bad out of all the films that nobody really wanted to see.
This is not good for women, at best it’s embarrassing.