Women Running for Office: By The Numbers

Women senators of the 113th Congress, 2013 (ABC News)

Women senators of the 113th Congress, 2013 (ABC News)

Do you pay attention to midterm elections? Well, you should this year! This year’s races should be really fascinating to watch because there are a record number of women registered to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

Let’s take a look at some other numbers surrounding women running for public office:

526 women running for public office in 2018

  • 395 women running for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2018
  • 50 women running for Senate seats in 2018
  • 79 women up for governors’ seats

Here’s what not-so-distant past trends looked like:

  • 20 women sworn in as senators in 2013 (the largest class of women Senators ever!)
  • 298 women ran for public office in 2012 (Side note: this was the previous record.)
  • 34 women ran for governors’ seats in 1994

Let’s hope this year brings a record-breaking number of women elected!!

 

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Trends: Hollywood Adopts Inclusion Riders

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Many people only learned of the term “inclusion rider” when actress Frances McDormand mentioned it during her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Curiosity about the term was so high that Merriam-Webster later reported via Twitter that “inclusion” was the dictionary’s most-searched term during the Oscars ceremony. (“Rider” came in fourth.)

(For those who haven’t yet heard, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. This clause can also be called an equity rider. The rider was invented by Stacy L. Smith, professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism along with lawyer Kalpana Kotagal. If you’re curious about what an inclusion rider looks like, here’s an inclusion rider template.)

Following the concept’s wave of exposure, others in Hollywood are making a commitment to inclusiveness in their projects official with the rider. “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company Outlier Society Productions would adopt the inclusion rider for its projects. Jordan is the first major actor to adopt the rider following McDormand’s Oscars speech. Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also announced that their joint production company Pearl Street Films will also adopt an inclusion rider.

I certainly hope others take up this cause to the point that we no longer need inclusion riders.

Trends: Calling Out Pay Disparity

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of 'Today' (ET Online)

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of ‘Today’ (ET Online)

Earlier this week, word got out that Michelle Williams got paid a per diem for quickly reshooting scenes for “All the Money in the World” ahead of its release. That per diem amounted to $80 per diem, totaling less than $1,000. Her costar Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, was paid a whopping $1.5M for the reshoots.

As USA Today notes, “that works out to Williams being paid less than one-tenth of 1% of her male co-star.” Isn’t that crazy?! In light of this revelation, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is investigating the matter to see if any rules were violated during the making of the film.

This isn’t the first time men and women have faced a pay disparity. Far from it. But now, calling out pay disparity has become a public way to shame companies for making their employees feel undervalued.

This has been happening several times in news. After “Today” host Matt Lauer was fired, it was reported that Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie would take over as co-hosts. Kotb and Guthrie would each be paid $7M, with their combined salaries making $14M. Later was making $25M, making the difference between his salary and those of his two co-hosts $11M.

Last month, E! Entertainment host Catt Sadler left her job of 12 years, because she was paid half as much as her male co-host Jason Kennedy. Her departure did not go unnoticed: Actresses Debra Messing, Laura Dern, and Eva Longoria confronted this year’s Golden Globes red carpet pre-show hosts Guiliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest over the issue.

Awareness of pay disparity has also spread around the world. Former BBC News editor Carrie Gracie quit her position earlier this month once she learned that she had been severely underpaid throughout her career.

The pay disparity problem has also crossed racial lines. “Hawaii Five-O” stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park each left the series last year due to pay disparity between themselves and their white costars. Though the two had been with the show since 2010, their respective raises were still 10-15% lower than those of their white costars.

It’s excellent that pay disparities are finally coming to light! Let’s hope they spur some lasting changes toward equality.

Google Trends: Time’s Up

Time's Up logo (Time's Up)

Time’s Up logo (Time’s Up)

On Jan. 1, 2018, 300+ powerful women working in Hollywood unleashed Time’s Up, a new initiative to combat sexual harassment in the workplace for all women. Awareness of the initiative debuted via an open letter penned by the Time’s Up founders, and published in The New York Times.

Within the past week-and-a-half, Time’s Up has received much attention, especially with the recent Golden Globes ceremony and the majority of female attendees showing up in black in solidarity for sexual harassment victims.

I was curious to see how much of a digital footprint the initiative has already made regarding search terms. So I looked at Google Trends.

I first used the search terms “times,” within the parameter of the past 30 days (Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018). Here’s the trend:

Google Trends: "timesup" search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “timesup” search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

Check out that spike! And it’s all since Jan. 1, 2018!

I was also curious to see which regions were searching for “timesup” the most. And here’s what happened:

Google Trends: "timesup" search term interest by region, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “timesup” search term interest by region, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

That was a surprise to me. I would’ve thought that there would’ve been enough data to show a regional breakout, but I was wrong.

This could be the result of how the search term is typed. So I decided to try another way: “times up.” Here was that trend:

Google Trends: "times up" search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “times up” search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 9, 2018 (Google Trends)

This is a bit steadier, but it’s also probable that this search term did not directly and solely relate to the new initiative.

I then decided to try the hashtag version: “#timesup.” Here’s what that term’s trend looked like:

Google Trends: "#timesup" search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 8, 2017 (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “#timesup” search term, Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 8, 2017 (Google Trends)

This one appears to be more directly related to the new initiative.

As Google Trends confirms, Time’s Up is already having an impact in terms of search. It’ll be interesting to see how the movement grows, and how search terms are subsequently affected.

 

 

 

Trends: Slaying While Pregnant

 

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

It seems like almost every female celebrity is pregnant right now (and that almost all of them are pregnant with twins). But instead of lying low and taking it easy during their pregnancies, many of these women are stepping it up, and making pregnant and non-pregnant women alike look like slackers.

First case in point: Beyonce. Leave it to Queen Bey to put us all to shame. The superstar performed a set during this year’s Grammy Awards. One portion featured her leaning back in a chair perched at a very precarious angle. (I don’t know about you, but my heart was in my throat for that whole portion. And I audibly exhaled when she got off that chair.)

Beyonce had also been scheduled to perform at Coachella before withdrawing. But we can’t fault her for that, considering she’s done more while pregnant than many people do in their lives.

Serena Williams is widely acknowledged to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tennis player in the world. Last month, she announced her pregnancy. When she announced the news, Williams was 20 weeks along. Someone very smart (and awesome) did the math and realized that Williams had recently played in a match while pregnant. And, as Laura Wagner at “Deadspin” put it, this wasn’t just any match:

Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, her record-breaking 23rd major, without dropping a single set, while nine fucking weeks pregnant. She is the greatest of all time.

Elsewhere in entertainment, Gal Gadot has been preparing for her upcoming movie “Wonder Woman.” Last November, she shot reshoots for the movie…while also five months pregnant. And she was probably doing more than a few stunts. NBD.

It’s great that we’re seeing so many women dominate during a time in life when women traditionally have been relegated to the sidelines.

Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

Trends: Updating Classic Films to Be More Inclusive

Emma Watson as Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast' (The Leaky Cauldron)

Emma Watson as Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (The Leaky Cauldron)

Within the last few years, many films have been updates to classic films. While it’s no secret that Hollywood likes to recycle its own ideas, there’s now a push to make the films more inclusive.

The 2016 release of “Ghostbusters” brought one change to the classic film: the ghostbusters were all played by women (the very funny Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones). While some butthurt fanboys cried that the reboot  killed their childhood (actually, they usually used a much more brutal, assault-y verb for it), the movie brought in $46M+ on its opening weekend, and grossed $229M+ over its theatrical run.

“Ocean’s 8,” which will be released in (wait for it…) 2018, will also feature all female leads in its remake-of-a-remake. (Seriously, the first version involved Frank Sinatra and his boys’ club Rat Pack and was released in 1960.) But “Ocean’s 8” does one better than “Ghostbusters” in that it’s more diverse. In addition to Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and rapper Awkwakfina will also star in the ensemble. And that first cast photo looks lit.

This weekend, Disney is releasing a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This movie has a lot going for it: For starters, Emma Watson as the titular character gives it some feminist cred. Watson had a lot of input on the character, and  Belle doesn’t wear a corset and is an inventor. (Remember, in the original 1991 film, Belle’s father was the inventor with the wacky contraptions.)

Updating the characters to reflect modern times also extends to the supporting cast. Le Fou, muscle man Gaston’s main lackey, is now going to be gay. And in love with Gaston. Which puts a lot of things into perspective, actually. Though Le Fou will be the first openly gay character, he’s far from the only gay character that Disney has created.

The movie will also feature the first two interracial kisses in a Disney movie: one between wardrobe Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and harpsichord Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), and the other between candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and feather duster Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). And Disney is here for it.

I can’t wait to see how Disney movies continue to grow and evolve in terms of representation in the future.