WMC Live-Tweets the Academy Awards
| February 28, 2012
On Sunday, the Women’s Media Center held a live-tweet conversation during the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Monitoring women’s presence (and lack thereof), we used the hashtag #WhereRWomen. For our Sexy or Sexism? campaign—a collaborative effort with Miss Representation—we monitored how women were represented using the hashtag #FemTV.
Our #WhereRWomen campaign was largely a reaction to the egregious disparity in women’s representation in this year’s Academy Award nominations. (See our breakdown of the nominations by gender here.) We managed to reach over 500,000 people and create almost 4 million impressions through our hashtag #WhereRWomen, reverberating throughout the twitterverse our collective dissatisfaction with the Oscars’ gender inequity.
We are thrilled that so many people were able and eager to join our tweetup on women’s representation in Hollywood, but we do not want the conversation to end now that the golden statues have been awarded. So how did women fare at this year’s Academy Awards? What were the numbers? How were they represented? The Internet has naturally been abuzz with reviews, summaries, analyses, and criticism of the Oscars—many critics tackling the tougher, more divisive issues of racism and sexism embedded in the ceremony’s rituals.
For instance, Alessandra Stanley wrote in the New York Times of host Billy Crystal’s controversial, racialized joke that he could only reach a black woman by driving 45 minutes away from Beverly Hills. “The industry,” writes Stanley of Hollywood, “congratulates itself on its big, progressive heart but it’s the progressivism of a 62-year-old white man.”
Other critics also picked up on what many considered the surface-level progressivism of the Oscars. Greg Braxton at the LA Times wrote about the Academy’s “effort” to bring diversity to the awards ceremony, which ultimately played out through token appearances here and there. “The embrace” of diversity, wrote Braxton, “turned out to be more awkward than warm.”
We saw a more direct criticism from The Root writer Genetta M. Adams in the Washington Post. Adams speculated on the Academy’s decision to award the Best Actress statue to Meryl Streep over The Help star Viola Davis: “Perhaps Hollywood wasn't prepared for what Davis might say if she won,” wrote Adams. After all, “Throughout the awards season, Davis has been outspoken about the lack of roles for women of color.”
Tara Sophia Mohr focused on the ceremony’s introductory montage of great movie moments in her Huffington Post piece. The footage consisted of “a stream of 25 clips showing male heroes talking to, leading or fighting other men. In the middle were a few women, one screaming in stress about her wedding, one screaming because she was being attacked and one screaming to fake an orgasm.”
We hope that the conversation about gender and racial imbalance at the Academy Awards—and in the larger world of Hollywood—will continue.