Nancy Meyers Takes Down Sexism In Hollywood

by Jennifer Still

The great thing about art is that it's all subjective, and there's basically something out there for everyone. No matter where you come from, what your interests are, there's a book, song, TV series or movie out there for you, and that's amazing. However, there's hardly equal representation in Hollywood. When it comes to women in the industry — particularly those working behind the scenes as writers, producers and directors — there's still a major imbalance in not only how many of those projects get funding, but what kind of films they're being asked to helm. The Intern director Nancy Meyers, unarguably one of the most prolific talents working today, is sick of the disparity, and I can't say I blame her. She recently spoke out in support of her fellow female filmmakers, insisting that women can direct big blockbusters too, if Hollywood would actually give them the chance to do so.

In an interview with New York Magazine published on Sept. 11, Meyers admitted that she was tired of being quiet about the gender issues in Hollywood and that, while it's no one's fault in particular, it is a reflection of culture at large. "Big movies are reserved for the guys, no one says it, but that’s the way it is, right? Is it something about turning over $70 million to a woman or $50 million or $30 million or $150 million? I don’t know. But let’s be honest, that’s pretty much all they’ve been making for a while now," she said.

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Meyers' comments may seem harsh, but they're certainly true. Hollywood is still very much a male-dominated world, with women making up just 23 percent of producers, 18 percent of editors, and 11 percent of writers, according to a 2015 study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. However, Meyers remains hopeful that higher representation behind-the-scenes will lead to more movies about women, made by women — and hopefully not all of them will be rom-coms and chick flicks.

"Even I was saying for a minute that maybe women just don’t want to direct the big-cape movies or tentpole movies because maybe they can’t really relate, but now I’m thinking that’s not even true," Meyers said. "Let’s not assume women don’t want in on those kind of movies. Women can direct dinosaurs. Believe me."

It's certainly food for thought, especially considering Meyers herself has written, directed and produced more than a dozen films throughout her career, none of which could even remotely be described as blockbuster material in the slightest (although they have been hugely successful; What Women Want is one of the highest-grossing movies ever made by a female director). There are no explosions, no CGI'd fight scenes or high-octane action sequences in her films, and frankly, there don't need to be. The Holiday is one of my favorite movies ever made and I re-watch it several times a year. It makes me cry every time and I love it in a completely unabashedly cheesy way. The same goes for the likes of The Parent Trap and Father of the Bride.

Noting Meyers' lack of explosion-heavy experience isn't a criticism in the slightest, of course; presumably she writes, directs, and produces material that she believes in. However, it's worth mentioning, as it brings up an interesting question: if the choice were hers, would Meyers perhaps like to direct an action movie? A horror flick? Something tells me she's happy where she's at (and so am I) and is hardly desperate to take on a big blockbuster, but the point still stands: it'd be nice to be asked.