A recent and super-depressing study showing that the percentage of female TV writers has halved over the last four years has prompted another round of asking everyone who might have an opinion: “Why Is Television Losing Women Writers?”
Turns out there are a lot of possible reasons! The bad economy and writers’ strike fallout affecting women and minorities most. The intimidation women face when entering the male-dominated writers room. Genre trends leaning towards episodic shows about spies in fancy suits setting off car explosions rather than hourlong emotional feeling-fests (because, as we all know, those two extremes are the only possible types of television shows! Nothing else! Just tears or car explosions!)
Perhaps the biggest bummer of all is the idea that TV is created solely for the purpose of selling products to male demographics, and therefore should only be written by males. “‘We’re not making art out here, we’re making programming that allows networks to sell ad dollars,’ says Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara, How to Make It in America). ‘The only ad dollars that appeal solely to women only are diapers and cleaning products. The expensive ad dollars, like cars and air travel, must appeal to both genders. …Sometimes I watch Louie, which, for my money, is one of the best shows I have ever seen on television, and wonder if … a network would air a show where a woman was talking about masturbating and farting (in an awesomely deep way, mind you). The answer is no – not because networks hate women, not because studios refuse to hire women creators – but because there is no brand that would be willing to be associated with the idea of such an anti-heroic woman.’”
A show about a woman masturbating and farting. We can only dream of such a paradise.