Last week, I attended a film festival in Waco, Texas that showed the 2019 documentary This Changes Everything. Spending Friday evening at a film festival seemed like an enjoyable and appropriate way to kick off a weekend that would culminate with the Academy Awards (the Oscars). I had no idea that this film would inform the way I viewed the movie industry and its most celebrated awards show. It did change everything for me.
This Changes Everything is about the representation of women in film, particularly their underrepresentation and misrepresentation on screen and in the film- and television-making process. It is not the first time this theme has been explored in a documentary. What struck me at this viewing, though, was the way the film portrayed patterns that resonated with my experiences in academia and in religious communities. There are parallels between the way sexism manifests in entertainment and I, along with other members in the (predominantly female) audience, couldn’t help but see parallels in Hollywood’s patterns of exclusion and the discriminatory conditions we confront in numerous other industries and professions. What were these patterns?
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