The Academy’s New Class is 39% Female and 30% POC

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its new class of members. The 2017 class numbers 744, which is a new record. This breaks the 2016 number of invitees at 683, which had previously held the record.

This new class might also hold the distinction of being the most diverse (so far). Of the 744 members, 39% are women and 30% are people of color (POC).

Here’s how the new class will influence the gender makeup of the Academy:

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable women invited include “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, comedian Amy Poehler, and French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.

POC comprise 39% of this year’s class. Here’s what that looks like with respect to the Academy’s full voting body:

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable POC invitees include Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key of “Key & Peele,” Indian actor Salman Khan, and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung.

Of course, there’s a lot of intersectionality happening for women of color (WOC). Prominent WOC in this year’s Academy class include Priyanka Chopra, Sanaa Lathan, and Nazanin Boniadi.

The Academy’s new class is part of an effort to increase the numbers of women and POC members by 2020.

Hopefully the new influx of fresh faces and perspectives will allow more diverse and inclusive narratives to come to the forefront, and prevent another #OscarsSoWhite fiasco.

 

Going Dark for “A Day Without A Woman”

A Day Without A Woman (Women's March on Washington)

A Day Without A Woman (Women’s March on Washington)

Today, I’m going dark for a cause: A Day Without A Woman.

Guidelines for the day via A Day Without A Woman:

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

This day coincides with International Women’s Day (IWD) and the International Women’s Strike (IWS). The day will also spotlight all the financial power women possess:

The idea behind a women’s general strike is that if women refuse to do all of their typical work for a day, it will force people to notice how important and under-appreciated that work is.

And that economic impact will be felt:

Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and influence about 73% of all household spending.

Though I’ll be working today at my office job, I plan to show my support by wearing red, reading feminist literature (currently deciding between “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie and “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay), and masturbating.

See you on March 9th!

School Districts Shutting Down For “A Day Without A Woman”

1950s female teacher (Masterfile)

1950s female teacher (Masterfile)

Tomorrow is A Day Without A Woman, a day to call attention to women’s economic power and labor (including the unpaid and emotional kind). Because women do have economic power: Studies show that “women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and influence about 73% of all household spending.”

One profession that is traditionally female-dominant is teaching. The National Center for Education Statistics found that for the 2011-2012 school year, female teachers comprised 76% of all public school teachers. (This gap is especially prominent in elementary schools.) These so-called “pink collar” jobs are ones where women dominate, but can be considered to be “lower” in status because of the feminine association (which is wrong, wrong, WRONG!!).

Naturally, the public school system might be hit hard tomorrow. Some school districts have already cancelled classes as a result of teachers taking the day off to strike. The Alexandria, Virginia public school system reported receiving over 300 requests for the day off. Brooklyn preschool The Maple Street School and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public school system in North Carolina (where 75% of employees are women) will also be closed. All schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will also be closed, after 1.7K teachers and 30% of transportation staff requested the day off.

Asian-Americans Shifting Away from the Republican Party

Asian-American voter (The Huffington Post)

Asian-American voter (The Huffington Post)

Recent data shows that Asian-Americans are leaving the Republican party to vote Democrat.

Through the 1990s, Asian-Americans were more likely to vote Republican. It’s thought that Asian-American generally voted for the Republican candidate due to connecting with fiscally and socially conservative platforms. Asian-Americans voted Republican around 55% of the time during the 1992 presidential election between Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton (who ended up winning). The 2000 election became a turning point when more Asian-Americans began supporting the Democrat candidate. In 2012, Barack Obama won with Asian voters by “nearly 50 percentage points.” Karthick Ramakrishnan of the National Asian American Survey attributes this outcome to Democrats actively trying to win the Asian-American vote.

Party Identification Among Asian-Americans (NPR)

Party Identification Among Asian-Americans (NPR)

Over time, Asian-Americans gravitating towards the Democrats doesn’t seem like a big deal, and more like a natural shift over time. Except that it might not be. This fact becomes more important in this election where surveys have shown Asian-Americans rejecting many points of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s platform: keeping out and deporting immigrants, diplomacy with China, among other aspects.

But it’s too early to tell whether this shift for Asian-Americans toward the Democrats is a blip on the radar or foretelling a larger, more long-term trend. According to Ramakrishnan, it’s too early to tell. In 2015, 47% of Asian-Americans identified as politically independent.

In October 2016, a survey found that registered Asian-American voters supported Hillary Clinton over Trump by a 4-to-1 lead.

 

“Loving” Film Releases Interracial Emoji Couples

Love-Moji ('Glamour' en Espanol)

Love-Moji (‘Glamour’ en Espanol)

Given our current obsession with all things tech, Focus Features has found a fitting way to promote the company’s upcoming film “Loving:” custom emojis.

The Love-Mojis feature a variety of emojis of interracial couples in about every combination you could think of. So if you’re in an interracial couple, and you haven’t yet felt your coupling properly represented by the Unicode Consortium, your time has finally come!

Why is this important? Let’s start with the film itself: “Loving” follows Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who got married in 1958. This wouldn’t be so remarkable except that Richard was white and Mildred was black. Their marriage happened during a time where interracial dating, much less marriage, was frowned upon, to put it lightly. Interracial marriage could bring a charge of miscegenation (race mixing, in plain terms).

The Lovings were arrested after their marriage for the crime of their relationship, and forced to leave Virginia. Once in D.C., they began legal proceedings. The Loving v. Virginia case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, which struck down said laws that were on the books of sixteen states. (All sixteen states were in the South. Shocker.)

Needless to say, this was a landmark case.

But why use emojis to promote it?

Since emojis debuted, the options for emoji couples were pretty stark. They didn’t show the breadth of real-life relationships in terms of race and also sexual preference. The new Love-Moji take this into account, and rectify the oversight.

There’s also the fact that using emojis has become a convenient visual shorthand for emotions we don’t particularly feel like typing out in words.

You can get the Love-Moji via app stores and at VoteLoving.com.

“Loving” comes out on Friday, Nov. 4th.

Trends: Emmys 2016 Diversity

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

The Emmy Awards aired this past Sunday night, honoring the best in TV. The twin themes  that popped out from the night were diversity and inclusion. And they played out in many ways.

Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first Egyptian-American to do so. Malek also became the first non-white actor to win the award since 1998, when Andre Braugher won for Homicide: Life on the Street. On the actress side, Black-ish lead Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Though she didn’t win, Ellis was the first Black woman to be nominated for the award in 30 years; Phylicia Rashad was nominated in 1986 for The Cosby Show. Ellis was only the fifth Black woman ever to be nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

Inclusivity also prevailed behind the camera. Comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won Best Writing for a Comedy Series for Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None. (Ansari was also nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.) Women directors were honored: Jill Soloway won Best Directing for a Comedy Series for Amazon’s Transparent, and Susanne Bier won Best Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for AMC’s The Night Manager.

Diverse narratives are gaining more traction. Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year for his role as a transwoman.

It was good to see some progress made this year in terms of inclusion, but there’s still a long way to go.

 

 

No Shit: Entertainment Isn’t Diverse: By The Numbers

Hollywood sign (Mapping Megan)

Hollywood sign (Mapping Megan)

A new study released this week by the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism once again stated the obvious: Entertainment isn’t diverse.

If you don’t want to read the full report (though I’d recommend it), here are some choice stats:

Percentage of female speaking roles in film: 28.7%

Percentage of female film directors: 3.4%

Percentage of female screenwriters: 28.9%

Percentage of cable TV shows that have no Asian characters: 51%

Percentage of cable TV shows that have no Black characters: 23%

 

Still not convinced the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag is needed?