Justice

Melissa McCarthy Has a Message For the Women Behind "Ghostbusters"

August 26th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

On Tuesday, McCarthy tweeted out an awesome photo championing the fantastic women working behind the scenes of "Ghostbusters."

Melissa McCarthy is the gift that keeps on giving. In the early 2000s, she stole the hearts of many as the fiercely creative, strong-willed Sookie on "Gilmore Girls," stood out as the daffy Megan in 2011 hit "Bridesmaids," and went on to beat the boys in "Entourage" movie at the box office this summer with her movie "Spy." So when news reports surfaced that she and several other women would be starring in the "Ghostbusters" reboot earlier this year, much of the Internet cheered.

The image pays homage to many of the folks who don't hold glamorous movie star roles. Though actors are in the photo as well, many of these ladies are stunt doubles, PAs, extras, prop workers, producers, stylists, makeup artists, etc. In other words, the people who help run the show but don't necessarily get to appear in the finished onscreen product:

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres showed her approval of the photo with this tweet:

Hollywood's shortage of women.

McCarthy's tweet comes at a time when Hollywood has come under fire for being a male dominant industry. According to the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report by UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, TV network and studio executives were 96 percent white and 71 percent male, and major and mini-major film studio executives were 94 percent white and 100 percent male in 2013.

Lead study author Darnell Hunt discussed his findings with the Hollywood Reporter. "It's a high-risk industry," Hunt said. "People want to surround themselves with collaborators they're comfortable with, which tends to mean people they've networked with—and nine times out of 10, they'll look similar. It reproduces the same opportunities for the same kind of people: You're surrounding yourself with a bunch of white men to feel comfortable ... It's getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough. And it's still a big problem."

A 2015 Writers Guild of America West report found that staff employment for women writers dropped to 29 percent in the 2013-2014 season, a decline from 30.5 percent down in the previous season. In January, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University released a study that found a 2 percent decline in the number of female directors of the top 250 grossing films over the past 17 years. Women make up less than ten percent of directors on top moneymaking films.

“It’s remarkable that we’re still at 1998 levels,” study author Dr. Martha Lauzen told Variety. “Whatever is being done to address this problem is not working and we need to look for industry-wide solutions ... It’s not that women don’t want to pursue careers in film."

Sexism in Hollywood.

It's no secret that women in Hollywood are often subjected to sexism, and McCarthy knows this all too well. Earlier this year, McCarthy told DeGeneres during a sit-down interview that a particularly negative review of her 2014 film "Tammy" got under her skin. McCarthy said the male writer mocked her appearance and even made a weird comment about her marriage to "Tammy" director Ben Falcone, with whom McCarthy frequently collaborates. Though McCarthy didn't share the critic's name, she revealed to DeGeneres that she actually confronted him about his review in person.

“He'd said basically I'm only a good actress when I look attractive and that my husband shouldn't be allowed to direct me because he let me look hideous in this movie," she told DeGeneres. "And I said, 'Would you do that to a man?' ... I put a lot of time and effort into having her completely not look like she cared about herself. That was part of how I felt she felt on the inside. I said, 'Would you ever say that to a man?' He goes, 'Well, you really looked bad.' I said, 'Just know every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that and they just get a little bit chipped away.'"

McCarthy said the writer seemed to soften when she asked if he'd ever deny his daughter work based on her looks.

"I just think we tear down women in this country for all of these superficial reasons and women are so great and strong," she continued. "And I really think he heard that. The writer was really loving and you could tell he was a loving father. I think that it's a bad habit that we've gotten into, and it's not that people are malicious. I just think it's so easy to take a swipe. Just go the other way; build it up."