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Television diversity wars

After this year’s #OscarsSoWhite debacle, the recent Tony Awards has been hailed as setting “a new benchmark in diversity.
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After this year’s #OscarsSoWhite debacle, the recent Tony Awards has been hailed as setting “a new benchmark in diversity.” 

For the first time in the show’s history, the lead actor, lead actress, featured actor and featured actress awards all went to black actors. Hallelujah!

Except I wonder if all black actors is any better than all white.  Diversity by definition means “a range of different things,” not just trading one crayon in the box for another.

What about the Asian actors, the Indian, the Native American or the Hispanics?  And besides perhaps Switched at Birth and NCIS: New Orleans, where are all the physically challenged lead roles on TV? 

Furthermore, according to statistics, over one third of Americans are obese.  Apparently, only three fat actors can live in Hollywood at a time.  And once they pop up for a show’s “learning moment,” they’re shipped out to make room for the next one.

But the lack of true diversity isn’t the only problem.  Gender inequality also continues to be rampant.  In fact, it’s worse than we thought.
Several years ago, a study from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at USC, looked at gender roles in television.  What they discovered was rampant sexism.  (Shocking, I know.)

Few shows divided their storyline or speaking rolls evenly between women and men.  In fact, women appeared in prime time only 38.9% of the time.  But when they did, they were three to four times more likely to wear sexy attire, show some nudity, have thin bodies and be referenced as being attractive.  Basically, they were eye candy.

However, it turns out women aren’t the only ones being unfairly sexualized for ratings.  Kit Harington of HBO’s Game of Thrones fame believes there is a double standard in the entertainment industry.  Men – or in his case rich, white males – are being victimized based on their looks too. 

The Hollywood hunk with the flowing locks has been asked to “strip down” for photo shoots and has found it (shudder) “demeaning.”  The poor man.  It must be so awkward to be asked to occasionally remove his shirt when his female co-stars are being stripped completely and their characters sexually and violently violated on the show. 

Harington’s been primped and pampered in magazines while female actors are photo-shopped and undressed for maximum side boob. 

Just imagine how many times this poor actor – a direct descendent of King Charles II who’s lived a life of privilege for 30 years – was forced to deal with all those mostly male producers and their casting couches before landing that starring role in his very first acting job. 

And he doesn’t want to be employed just for his looks.  No wonder he’s incensed. 

No wonder everyone’s incensed.  Hollywood’s not hiring enough blacks, Asians, Indians, Native Americans, Hispanics, the physically-challenged, the overweight, Caucasian women, and now men – unless they’re really pretty.  So who exactly is getting all the roles?

Whoever they are, they’re definitely young.  (Ageism has become a bit of a problem, you know.

 



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