2013 Emmy Awards Prove that Women are Still Far Too Underrepresented in TV Writing
Here's some unsurprising news: women are still grossly underrepresented in Hollywood. On Sunday night's Emmy Awards, the nine nominees for Comedy Writing included only three women, and in the Drama Writing category, zero women received nominations. The Writing for a Miniseries/Movie category fared better, with two women out of six nominees, but in the Writing for a Variety Show competition, only a handful of the several dozen nominees were female.
Those are hugely disappointing numbers, and it's discouraging to see how little progress has been made over the last few years in terms of gender equality in Hollywood. As wonderful as it was to see 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield take home the award for Comedy Writing, Modern Family's Gail Mancuso's win for Comedy Directing (the second woman ever to win the award), and The Hour's Abi Morgan win for Miniseries/Movie, the satisfaction was lessened by the knowledge that they were some of the only women nominated for non-acting awards at the Emmys. They undoubtedly deserved the recognition, but it's a shame that more women couldn't have gone up in competition against them.
It's the drama category, in which not a single woman was nominated, that is the most frustrating of all. It seems that even in 2013, when females are behind some of the biggest shows on TV, they still can't get the recognition they deserve. Perhaps next year will be different; Breaking Bad's Moira Walley-Beckett will likely get a nomination for penning the instant classic "Ozymandias," and Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes is a strong possibility for a nod, as well. Mad Men's writing staff has a large number of women, as does definite nominee Orange Is the New Black, so there's a chance for some of them to be honored. Let's hope they do.
But this year, the Emmys failed women writers. By ignoring them, they encouraged the idea that good TV is made by men. Women may make the bad shows — remember how much flack Whitney Cummings got back in 2011? — but the ones of quality are written by men. It's untrue and unfair, but it's what's implied when the most prestigious awards show for television only chooses to acknowledge male writers.
Hopefully, next year will mark a major change for the Emmys, and subsequently, for Hollywood. If Walley-Beckett, Rhimes, Orange's Jenji Kohan and more all got recognized for their work, it could mark a huge shift in the industry, and change the public's perceptions of who runs TV's biggest shows. We're not keeping our fingers crossed, though; the Emmys have too long a history of sticking with the status quo.
But maybe, just once, they'll be willing to shake things up.