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Billboard: US Senate is more progressive than Hollywood
Copyright © 2003 by Guerrilla Girls


A billboard at Highland and Melrose in Hollywood, March 1-31, 2003

On March 1, 2003, the Guerrilla Girls introduced our latest redesign of the golden boy: the Trent L'Ottscar. Why? Because the stodgy Senate and hip Hollywood have something in common: they both lag behind the rest of U.S. society in numbers of women and people of color in top positions. And the Senate is doing better than the film industry! 14% of US Senators are female (the highest percentage in history, although still paltry). But only 4% of directors of 2002's top 100 films are female.

In fact, even the interim government of Afghanistan is more progressive than Hollywood. 6% of the interim cabinet members are women!

Here are the embarrassing Hollywood statistics, all from The Celluloid Ceiling, a yearly study by Martha Lauzen of San Diego State University:
Of 2002's top-grossing 100 films:
4% had female directors
8% had female writers
1% had female cinematographers
12% had female editors

And here are a few more stats:
Hollywood guilds are 80 to 90 % white.
No people of color employed by movie studios have the power to greenlight movies.
4 of the 44 partners or board members at the town's top 5 talent agencies are women. None of the 44 are people of color.

We maintain that in the 21st century, low, low, low numbers like this HAVE to be the result of discrimination, unconscious, conscious or both. And there's an easy way to change things: open up that boys' club and hire more women and people of color. It worked in medicine, business and law. It worked in the art world. Now it's Hollywood's turn.

Since 1999, the Guerrilla Girls, joined by an anonymous group of women directors called the Alice Locas, have been putting up stickers, posters and billboards criticizing and satirizing the Neanderthal film industry. Last year, our "Anatomically Correct Oscar Billboard" in Hollywood was the subject of news coverage from as far away as New Zealand. We like to think that in some small way our billboard helped Halle Berry and Denzel Washington win their Oscars. (Even with their well-deserved accomplishment, only 3% of Oscars for acting -leading and supporting-have ever been won by people of color). In January we invaded the Sundance film festival with our satirical movie poster, "The Birth of Feminism." We plan to have supporters sneak our stickers into the Oscars this year, too, and put them up in the bathrooms of the Kodak Theater.