Page 1

I SSUEI I :EQUALI TY


r achelschmar gon r achaelsever i no macar enaqui r nocost a t ar ar i gchung yenhoang mi chael apr osser j ai mepuhm meganmi l l er el l ahodgki nson ni nai t o nat al i ej or ay al essgi bson kor i nnebi si g mi chel l eswol f s r hi annapi ke j osephi nechoy amandaj ol oya anni kaki r van br i dget t esut t er j ani neher nando ni acl ar kdal l as shr eyashet t i gar cl ai r ehar mon f ai t hmchan j ul i e mar y meganmi l l er par kerbr own r egi nagonzal ez sophi et hor mann t hanht r an t or ishel t on val ent i na sar ahs mckennabr i ght sever i nagr oavac emmar ohl of f l i lj or di sdi ephol z al bagòmez


EQUALITY a long way to go for international organizations. the case of the g2o summit. by Macarena Quirno Costa

The Group of Twenty (G20) is an informal forum originally created in 1999 by G7 finance ministers and central bank governors as a means to face the financial

presidency this year. After each summit, world leaders sign a declaration outlining the objectives and policies for the near future. But the G20 has been consumed by

crises that emerging economies were going through. The objective was to have a broader impact when addressing financial challenges. WIth this in mind, the Group of Seven invited the world’s major economies to form a new ministeriallevel forum: the G20. However, the global financial crisis that began in 2008 proved that new consensus-building strategies were needed, only this time it would take heads of state or government to gather and decide which steps would be taken in order to stabilize world economy. Since then, representatives from nineteen countries and the European Union have attended yearly summits accompanied by key international organizations (e.g. United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund), guest countries invited at the president’s discretion, and engagement groups countries composed of different

a prolonged series of debates over basic issues and its communiqués have failed to be substantial and lead the way towards a cohesive project for global economy, and therefore, the reduction of inequality. It is time for policy makers to address the subject of inequality not only on a national level but most importantly on an international level. It is time for multilateral stages to become places where decisions are made and clear action plans are outlined.

sectors of civil society.Ten years later, the most important international economic coordination forum is chaired by a Latin American country for the first time as the Argentine government occupies the

implementation of development policies such as financinginfrastructure projects, promoting food safety, optimizing resources, and enforcing inclusive social policies to help reduce the existing global

The G20’s agenda fundamentally examines macroeconomic and financial matters so as to promote a strong, sustainable, and stable global growth while working towards the carrying out of regulatory initiatives with the purpose of ensuring more transparency, efficiency, and responsibility throughout financial markets. Moreover, the forum intends to foster the coordinate


development gap. In recent years, engagement groups have met to discuss issues affecting their specific areas of interest and draft recommendations for sherpas -emissaries who participate in planning, negotiation and other tasks on behalf of the head of state or government of their respective country. In 2018 there will be seven active engagement groups: Business (B20), Civil Society (C20), Labour (L20), Science (S20), Think Tanks (T20), Women (W20) and Youth (Y20). Although all of the current engagement groups are vital to the work of the forum, I believe both the Women 20 and the Youth 20 groups deal with key issues regarding inequality considering that women and young people face some of the greatest hardships in today’s world. The former was created in 2015 and seeks to further women’s economic empowerment as a basic factor of economic growth and social development while the latter focuses on identifying economic challenges and opportunities for young people across the world and works on developing their abilities and networks since 2010. Taking into account the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations in 2015, the G20 must aim to complement the work of the UN and the United Nations Development Programme and further its impact. Although income inequality between countries may have been reduced in recent years, inequality within countries has risen by 11% inmdeveloping countries between 1990 and 2010, and access to health, education and other services remains unequal. Furthermore, this is linked to women’s economic status worldwide as reforms still need to be undertaken in order to offer women equal rights to economic resources

as well as access to multiple forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources. Working on the basis of equality as a means to achieve economic

growth and development, G20 task forces, engagement groups, sherpas and heads of state must address all forms of discrimination against women and girls as well as income inequality by outlining policies that, once adopted, will “empower the bottom percentile of income earners, and promote economic inclusion of all regardless of sex, race or ethnicity.” However great of a task I set for the G20 as one example of multilateral groupings, it is true that times are not promising for international organizations and universal multilateralism to coordinate actions. Multilateral rulemaking is limited by full national legislative agendas, an array of bilateral trade agreements and regional organizations’ discussions on new


inormative guidelines. Classical international organizations now face new competitors, non-universal multilateralism and hybrid organizations such as NAFTA, MERCOSUR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT). In such a context, the former will have to adapt to the new circumstances posed by today’s fastchanging world by acquiring speed and agility in their decision-making and bureaucratic processes, while still preserving the advantages of universal multilateralism (for instance, the protection of weaker countries given the inclusiveness and legitimacy of universal multilateral processes). As the World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said during a speech in 2013, as globalization, population growth, technology and urbanization continue to produce problems that seem to lie beyond the power of single States because they transcend borders, forums like the G20 emerge as coalitions that enable countries eager to act and carry out plans on subjects universal multilateral organizations are unable to do so or can only aim to solve in the long term due to slow decision-making processes.

Poverty is more than the lack of resources to ensure sustainable livelihood. It includes hunger, malnutrition, limited access to basic services, social discrimination and exclusion, as well as lack of participation in decisionmaking. Consequently, economic growth must be inclusive, guarantee access to sustainable jobs, and foster equality by providing inclusive and quality education for all as well as equal access to affordable vocational training to end gender and wealth disparities, thus ensuring universal access to higher education in every continent. In regards to women, they make up for the more than 60% of the 130 million youth worldwide who lack basic literacy skills. Because of this, providing girls and women with equal access to education, health care, formal work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes is both essential to the development of sustainable economies and beneficial to society and humanity at large. It is on the basis of the aforementioned facts, that delegates and world leaders involved in the G20 summit should take a step forward towards the end of inequality and design global policies with that aim in mind.


(In Spanish) “Grupo de los Veinte (G20)” Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto - República Argentina, n. d. Web. 15 Feb. 2018. http://cancilleria.gov.ar/ grupo-de-los-veinte-g20-0 Gurry, Francis. “Challenges for International Organizations and Multilateralism”. Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Oration. 2013. Speech. World Intellectual Property Organization. Web. 16 Feb. 2018. http://www.wipo.int/about-wipo/en/ dgo/speeches/dg_colombo_2013.html G20 Argentina. “What is the G20?” G20 Argentina, 23 Jan. 2018. Web. 14 Feb. 2018. https://www.g20.org/en/g20/what-is-the-g20 G20 Argentina. “How does the G20 work?” G20 Argentina, 8 Jan. 2018. Web. 14 Feb. 2018. https://www.g20.org/en/g20/how-it-works G20 Argentina. “Engagement Groups” G20 Argentina, n. d. Web. 14 Feb. 2018. https://www.g20.org/en/g20-argentina/engagement-groups Morgan, Matthew. “Consensus Formation in the Global Economy: The Success of the G7 and the Failure of the G20.” Studies in Political Economy 90.1 115–136. Web. https://www.academia.edu/2356844/Consensus_Formation_ in_the_Global_Economy_The_Success_of_the_G7_and_the_Failure_of_the_G20 UN. “Sustainable Development Goals”, United Nations, n. d. Web. 12 Feb. 2018. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ UN. “Reduce inequality within and among countries”, United Nations, n. d. Web. 12 Feb. 2018. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/inequality/ UN. “Gender equality and women’s empowerment”, United Nations, n. d. Web. 12 Feb. 2018. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ UN. “End Poverty in all its forms everywhere”, United Nations, n. d. Web. 13 Feb. 2018. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/ UN. “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, United Nations, n. d. Web. 13 Feb. 2018. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/ UNDP. “ Goal 10: reduced inequalities”, United Nations Development Programme, n. d. Web. 13 Feb. 2018. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/ home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-10-reduced-inequalities.html UNDP. “ Goal 4: quality education”, United Nations Development Programme, n. d. Web. 13 Feb. 2018. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-4-quality-education.html Women 20. “History” Women 20, n. d. Web. 14 Feb. 2018. http://w20argentina. com/en/historia/

R E F E RE NCES

All translations from Spanish made by the author.


NO, MS HOPKINS,

INEQUALITY ISN’T ‘TERRIFIC’

Written by Tara Nyima Jackson-Rigchung

Upon first hearing the argument that inequality could be used as an incentive for individuals to work harder, presented by Katie Hopkins during a debate at the Oxford Union Society, I assumed that this was an opinion held only by one of the most right-wing columnists in the UK. What happened next is what I like to describe as The Forrest Gump wh

Effect: once heard, this argument kept on making appearances. I heard it again when a friend told me about an argument she’d gotten into with an individual over social media; then I heard it on the radio; once more on television. Each time, these were ordinary people who truly believed that inequality was beneficial to humanity. be


Allow me to clarify. I do not mean economic inequality whereby jealousy of a neighbour’s wealth may encourage one to strive to achieve a similar level of wealth. I am referring to the most potent of double standards- the fact that if white men are running a metaphorical race, women of colour are running the same race with a ball and chain run attached to their ankle. While white people have to jump a foot high, people of colour have to jump fifteen to be in the same position and earn the same respect. For example, to be President, Barack Obama had to be educated, well-spoken and composed. The bar was set incomparably low for Donald Trump, who has called a slew of countries ‘sh*tholes’, refused to visit the UK despite being ‘very popular’ here (if his elusive fan mail is anything to go by), caused a government shutdown and referred to himself as a ‘very stable genius’and that’s just the beginning of this year. Let us never forget the substantial amount of his more infamous and often disgusting comments such as the notorious ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’, his small startup of a million

dollars, ironically bragging about how humble he is and of course his Freudian slip of referring to neo-Nazis and white supremacists as ‘us’. For a support base that was demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate, it is horrendously hypocritical that we do not see the same zeal in demanding to see Trump’s tax returns. se This sums up the point that I am trying to make about inequality; the standards are set at a very different level for white people than for people of colour. I know that my half-Tibetan heritage and female sex will be advantageous in some areas, but will be disadvantageous in others. To respond to Ms Hopkins, no, inequality is not ‘terrific’. We are Ho not looking for a problem where there is none. ‘Is it really a bad thing that society is unequal?’ In short, yes. Because at the current rate, I can expect to earn 15% less than my male counterpart. And this isn’t something terrific or not-that-bad, it will affect other ethnic minority women as well.


‘Life isn’t fair’, Hopkins tells her children, something that all parents tell their children at some point in their upbringing. Often one works hard and does not reap the rewards. However, there is a significant difference between unfair and unequal; if one works hard for an A grade in a particular subject and fails the test in the end, that is unfair. If a woman th performs well in her profession but is not promoted, and her male counterpart working at the same rate and with the same amount of experience is, then there is obviously some internal prejudice against women. If two identical job applications are sent to the same firm, and ‘David’ is hired but ‘Mohammad’ is rejected, this is not only unfair; these people are not being treated equally. Yes, my parents have told me that life isn’t fair, but they would be as suspicious as myself if I were to be in either of these situations.

Oxbridge. Perhaps my outrage stems from seeing a woman argue that inequality is a good thing, or perhaps because my political, and arguably human, predispositions will not let me ‘allow the weak to fail’ - ‘the weak’ being so loosely defined, I cannot support her statement that we should allow them to fail. In terms of economic difficulty or social te inequality, I cannot allow this. Furthermore, history has shown that The Weak often triumph over The Strong; The Weak are remembered as martyrs, while The Strong are remembered as nothing but tyrants. Hopkin’s controversial statement even counteracts her own Christian faith, going against the beatitude ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’. The subtle grammatical division between us and The Weak challenges our empathy, which I believe to be the very essence of what makes us human.

‘We need to allow the weak to fail’, the speaker asserts, in a sweeping Malthusian statement that the students of Oxford university that she is addressing are the people that the elite (or ‘we’ as she calls them) want to go to university. According to her, those with an IQ lower than 85 should be left to the gutter. I’m paraphrasing, but given her views on pa immigration, I wouldn’t be surprised if she endorsed this view. In a gauche appeal to the students before her, Hopkins effectively condemns those with insufficient funds to attend university and condemns them to polytechnic universities, ignoring the fact that employers may value a graduate with a first class honours degree from a polytechnic more than a graduate with a 2:2 from

I know this seems like rather an obvious statement to make and that inequality is obviously a damaging thing, but after a few weeks of watching Sunday morning television and listening to arguably left-wing radio programmes avidly, I came to realise that this is not a view held only by one of the most right-wing, provocative columnists in Britain; ri this is a view that permeates into society. The view that inequality is a ‘terrific’ thing must be eradicated; it threatens our spirit of empathy, and in turn, what makes us human. n.b. I am very much looking forward to Ann Coulter’s visit at the Oxford Union, which will hopefully present equally contentious attitudes.


THE

INEQUALITY

OF A

BLANKET Written

By

Designed

Yen By

Hoang

Shreya

Shettigar

   I begged myself not to cry, but the tears

   I headed straight to my bed, with its warm

were already burning my eyes, and my breath

and comforting blankets. As I laid there,

was growing ragged. I felt suffocated by the

surrounded by nothing but silence, I thought

words I had just heard: “Aren’t Asians supposed

about the comment. Why are Asians supposed

to be smart?” It was a small comment, and if it

to be smart? Why aren’t other races expected

had been any other day, I would have been

to be smart? Why are the Himalayan Mountains

able to shrug it off. However, it wasn’t just any

socially considered a border between different

other day. I had stayed up all night studying for

expectations of intelligence? I gripped my

a Calculus test, only to get a less than stellar

blanket tighter as I got farther into my thoughts.

grade, I had just gotten a rejection from a

The most agonizing question hit me like a rock.

writing job I had applied for, and I had just learned of my unimpressive SAT score. Needless to say, on that particular day, I was not in the mood to be reminded of how much of a failure I

Why is the continent of Asia covered by one single blanket of expectations?

was.

   

   The harsh words came after I was unable to

There are 48 different countries in Asia, with

help a schoolmate with a science question. I

approximately 4.3 billion people living in them.

tried, I really did, but science just wasn’t my

This number does not account for those of Asian

forte. With all of the stress on my shoulders, I

descent who live in other countries but are still

felt helpless and dumb. I felt as if I couldn’t do

held to the same standards as the mainland

anything; I was on the verge of a mental

ones. How can so many people, with such a

breakdown. Perhaps, that’s why I took the

variety of backgrounds and life stories, be

comment so personally even though it might

squeezed into one set of expectations?

only have been meant as a joke. I took a deep

I have been followed by the taunts of “chink”

breath, gathered my belongings, and headed

and “gook” since my playground days.

home.


Since kindergarten, I have known what my

My family is far from rich, and the only SAT

career options were: doctor, lawyer, or

prep I have is the free SAT tests that are

engineer. I was supposed to have been

on Collegeboard. Despite all of these

good at math and science while scraping

different scenarios, when we all apply to

by in other subjects. I was supposed to

college, we will be pit against each other

have had no interests in the arts besides

due to the continent of our origin.

playing an instrument in the orchestra.

   I am not a generally acrimonious

There were so many things that I should

person, but this is one topic I have never

have been, and I struggled under the

been able to get over. Because how is it

weight of the stereotype.

fair that we are competing against each

   When I entered high school, I noticed

other when there is such an unequal

something about my fellow Asians: we

playing field? Why am I expected to do as

were all trapped by the same

well as my Asian peers who have every

expectations. Despite the fact that we

resource at their fingertips? Why are all of

couldn’t have been more different, we

these different backgrounds lumped into

were socially forced to confine to an

the same category of “Asian”?

image that America had of us.

   Asians in America, especially, deal with

We were the model minority: well-behaved, submissive, and unthreatening.

this issue. How do they expect us to compete when our races are so different when it comes to advantages and history in America? For example, numerous Chinese people came over as immigrants,

We shared this title with our Asian identity.

while many Vietnamese people came over

   Really, we shouldn’t have. The mainland

as refugees from a war-torn country.

Chinese students at my school were filthy

Unfortunately, many Americans view these

rich, with multiple tutors and people to

two ethnicities as one and the same. Aside

write their essays for them. Some of the

from being forced to compete against one

Chinese students whose ancestors have

another, we are also forced to become a

been in America for generations were

single image: the model minority.

well-versed in the college application

   The model minority is a myth. Asians are

game, with parents who graduated with

people, and we have different values just

multiple degrees. These were the kids who

like every other race. We should not be

had the resources to be at the top of the

cast under a blanket of expected

Asian competition. Some of my other Asian

perfection. The model minority myth is

friends were simply from average families

harmful in that it downplays any Asian

trying to get by. My parents were refugees

achievement, and it whittles the Asian

from Vietnam, and my mom never

identity down to “an inferior version of

attended school past the third grade.

white people.”


CANADA NOT AS PERFECT AS Written by Jaime Puhm

Within Canada, there is a piece of legislation called the Indian Act. It is a piece of Canadian Federal Law that governs matters related to Indian status, bands, and Indian reserves. Throughout history, it has been highly paternalistic and damaging to the Indigenous population. It entitles the federal government to regulation and control over the affairs of registered Indians and reserves. Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, made a statement regarding the purpose of the Indian Act in 1887 upon its creation: “The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.� The Act caused horrible personal and cultural damage to the First Nations community that still continues to impact families, communities, and individuals to this very day. It introduced residential schools and forbade First Nations from speaking their native languages or practicing traditional religions. It also infringed upon their political rights, as al they were not allowed to vote in federal elections until the 1960s.


IT SEEMS

Discrimination and inequality were even more prominent for Aboriginal women, and they still are to this very day. Originally, woman’s status was completely dependent on the status of her husband. If a woman married a non-status man, she would lose her own status. If a woman married a man from another reserve or band, she was no longer a an member of her own band, and if she was widowed or abandoned, she lost status entirely. These prominent inequality issues within the Act were not addressed until 1985 through the introduction of Bill C-31, but this bill is a violation of equality rights itself. It restricts the inheritance of status to only the children of thewomen who had their status r einstated by the bill. It was only when the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled the bill to be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 2009 that this bill was addressed. Currently, it is still in the process of being amended.


So, if the Indian Act has done significant damage and continues to do so, then why not just abolish it? Discussions about abolishing the act have occurred throughout the years but have been met with strong resistance by Aboriginal peoples. Despite the harm it causes, Aboriginal peoples would rather live with the inequitable Indian Act than surrender their sacred rights. Examples of these rights are freedom of religion and land claims. It also plays an important role in preserving their culture by legally distinguishing First Nations peoples from other Canadians through status, and it preserves the government’s obligations to their people to right the wrongs of the past. One of the most important obligations is supplying for the reserves that many Indigenous peoples were forced to live in after the creation of the Indian Act and continue to live in today. This includes maintaining the communities and ensuring that the living conditions are consistent with other regions across Canada. Other obligations include the same entitlement as all Canadians to basic human rights, such as access to food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, and proper education. Being a progressive first world country known for its strong enforcement of human rights, healthcare system, and education, Canada must be successfully fulfilling their obligations by 2018, right? Wrong.

Many reserves still do not have the resources or finances to raise the standard of living out of third-world conditions, despite living in a first-world country. In the year 2000, only 56.9% of homes in Aboriginal communities were considered to be adequate shelters, which is defined as shelters that do not need minor or major repairs or replacement. Within these communities across Canada, there are approximately 150 drinking water advisories, 71 of which are long-term and have been in place for over a year. This means that the water for their homes and communities is not safe to consume without boiling. Canada has recognized the right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation internationally but has failed to uphold this right in its own country. Canada is not fulfilling its duty under Section 36 of the Constitution Act of 1982 to provide crucial public services of reasonable quality to all citizens. Access to safe drinking water, a right that seems incredibly basic, must be considered an essential public service. Children, the most vulnerable of human beings, are being subjected to even more intense inequality. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the federal government has been discriminating against Indigenous children on reserves by not providing the same level of services that children receive elsewhere in Canada. This is especially prevalent in the healthcare system, as quality healthcare is out of reach for a large portion of Aboriginal Canadians for many reasons. Some of these include cultural barriers, geographic isolation, and government disputes. In 2007, the House of Commons passed the Jordan’s Principle that enforces the right of First Nations children to have the same access to medical services as other Canadian children, and the Federal government laid out a plan in July of 2016 to spend $382 million over three years to reinforce this. Only $11.5 million has been spent so far. fa


Women and girls are another group that is subjected to additional unequal treatment, primarily by law enforcement. Due to unjustified prejudice, Indigenous women and girls are more likely to be seen as blameworthy in cases of sexual assault. There have been many cases of this reported, one being about an Aboriginal women’s 15-year-old daughter getting into a violent dispute with her abusive adult boyfriend. The Royal Canadian Mountain Police’s arrival at the scene resulted in the young girl being handcuffed and her arm being broken by the officer due to unnecessary force. A leader in an Indigenous community told the Human Rights Watch that he once reported a 14-yearold girl missing from a group home late in 2011, a report of great concern considering a minor had gone missing. The officer taking the report asked: “Why are you calling us about this? What do you expect us to do?” He only apologized and took the report seriously after learning that the man was a leader in the Indigenous community.

It’s 2018 Canada, and if you claim to be such a progressive country with the ultimate respect for human rights, this should not be an issue. You’ve got a lot of work to do to live up to the reputation you so proudly flaunt.


HH

OLLYWOOD ORRORS

(BUT NOT THE KIND YOU WANT TO SEE) WRITTEN BY MEGAN MILLER

The age-old staple of western culture. The beauty, effects, and most importantly the glamour have stunned and awed audiences for over a century now. The influence of the film industry on people and popular culture is monumental. Most everyone has been touched by some sort of Hollywood production at some point in their lives. Despite the success of the sensation, the entertainment and media industries have remained behind the times. Every day there are news stories of people in minority groups speaking out against the injustice seen in their line of work. The amount of terrible talk you hear can be overwhelming. Sadly this wave of voices is continually dismissed by the executives and decision makers of the major studios. Now is the greatest time for revolution in the industry. The standards are changing and expectations are morphing to include more minorities in the picture. Despite this call for change, Hollywood’s problematic past can still be seen in modern times. Back in 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite

movement called out the obvious lack of diversity in the awards season. This was not new for the Oscars, however. After running for 90 years, the Academy Awards primary categories consistently go to the Caucasian nominees. Somehow, after almost a century of films, African, Hispanic, and Asian Americans have yet to win in the Best Director category. Sure, there may be outside factors to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps these minority directors simply didn’t meet the same standard as their white counterparts. Maybe the popularity of these types of directors have only recently started to increase so it’s unfair to judge the Academy on their past. Certainly these things may be true. But they can’t explain all of the prejudice seen today. During the 2013-2014 season, the writers rooms of many popular television studios were examined. The results, while unsurprising, are still disturbing. White writers made up 86.3% of the room. Black writers had the next highest percentage of 5.4%. The Asian, Latino, and Multiracial


scriptwriters each had less than 3%. Those same writers were 71% male. If that isn’t an obvious enough imbalance to persuade you, the little representation that is seen in film and television still lacks diversity. The LGBTQ+ community is especially impacted by this. A study conducted by the University of Southern California on inclusion and invisibility in 2016 looked at the makeup of the characters on screen. Out of the over 11,000 speaking characters examined, only 229 were LGBT. Of those, 158 were gay, 49 lesbian, 17 bisexual, and only 7 transgender. Not only does that cover only a small fraction of the LGBTQ+ community, when looking at the gender and ethnicity of these characters, 72.1% were male and 28.9% were white. This representation of the community skews the truth. The proportions of the LGBTQ+ people are misconstrued in film and television.

So not only are minority individuals severely lacking in front of and behind the camera, even when they are portrayed it is still usually not diverse. This doesn’t even get into the double standards and stereotypes that continue to exist. Men can somehow age gracefully and continue to have a high acting status while once women reach a certain age, they’re dismissed and age out of many popular roles. Plus, the few roles that are

open to people of color usually have overt or subtle racism attached to them. Most often, the harmful ideas that people have about minorities are integral parts of their characters. Even with the successes that minority lead films are having in recent years, overall change is slow to come. Get Out was nominated many times throughout the 2018 award season, most notably for Best Picture at the Oscars. Although it lost in that category, Jordan Peele did manage to win for Best Original Screenplay. Another momentous movie of the year was Black Panther. It quickly became a success with high ratings from critics and audiences alike. The film was unstoppable. It broke records both in the box office and for the genre. It became the fourth highest grossing superhero movie ever made and is well on its way to becoming the most successful solo superhero film. The monetary success and popularity of such films, does not change the unwillingness to modify practices. The executives and decision makers of the major studios are primarily straight, white, old men. Because of this, it’s hard to get new ideas out there and have more diverse people and stories get made. With over 450 executives in charge, 97% are white and 87% are male. The average age is 65 years old5. The mindset that these people are stuck in is stopping productions. As Karyn Kusama, the director of Jennifer’s Body and Girlfight said, “It was fascinating to have the writer be female, the director be female, the stars be female, and my head executive be female, and then we get to the top of the mountain, all those [male] marketing people. It was crushing.”


The process for these films was going smoothly until the forced heterosexual male view was put into it. They wanted outrageous things for the star, Megan Fox, to do, including talking to porn sites as part of the advertising for the film6. Without having minorities be in charge and actually have a say, these same ridiculous requests will be expected of underrepresented people and they will continue to be treated in such ways. The modern audience itself is becoming more diverse. With more minority people becoming the main viewers to appeal to, it would make sense for movies to account for that. Yet, they don’t. Some initiatives have been taken and have allowed for underrepresented people to be noticed more, but filmmakers haven’t done enough. Even the current regulations for diversity have loopholes for some of the most important pieces of the film industry. The Director’s Guild of America worked on an

agreement to have any signatories try to hire more female and minority directors. Dishearteningly, only television networks agreed to this, despite the fact that film productions are the ones that most need to be forced to expand their representation, especially for women in directorial positions. It’s hard to believe that the magical world of movies could be so tainted. And it’s even harder to rationalize the continuing support of such practices. That is why it’s time for change. Hollywood has had enough time to think about it and has seen enough evidence to know that continuing its current customs is unacceptable. The population of the U.S. is changing. The audience of modern day films is changing. The only thing that isn’t is Hollywood itself. For an industry that uses 21st century technology to create glamorous masterpieces, their actions reflect their 19th century roots and have not aged well.


VER Magazine - Issue 2: Equality  

VER Magazine is an online magazine and platform for youth interested in international politics. The team consists of 100+ enthusiastic young...

VER Magazine - Issue 2: Equality  

VER Magazine is an online magazine and platform for youth interested in international politics. The team consists of 100+ enthusiastic young...

Advertisement