Let's Keep Up the Studio-Shaming

As Slate pointed out in 2013, not all criticism should be automatically referred to as "[insert subject]-shaming." But when it comes to certain systems and habits, it kind of works. Take Hollywood, for example: It becomes routinely evident that there are times when Hollywood's ingrained modes of only representing very narrow visions of humanity shift only once people have proclaimed loudly enough that it's necessary. Jane Fonda, speaking on a panel at Sundance with 9 to 5 and Grace & Frankie co-star/fellow legend Lily Tomlin, touched on Hollywood's longtime gender bias:

The studios are run by men and they have the bottom line to meet and they give jobs to people like them.... It’s a matter of gender, not that we don’t have the experience.... We have to shame the studios for being so gender-biased; we have to prove we can be commercial.

Studio-shaming, in fact, seems to be one of the more popular tactics in trying to get Hollywood to sit up and pay attention to what its audiences are demanding. That audience has proven time and time again that female stories are critically and commercially viable, but still finds those female stories underestimated or not made at all.

When the masses grew fed up enough with Saturday Night Live 's lack of black women in its ranks it was certainly very loud, very public shaming that pushed them to actually hire a few. One could posit that it was a similar shaming that pushed Marvel to finally put its first female solo film into motion.

Studio-shaming seems to me less tired than so many of the other excuses we give ourselves to fling "whatever-shaming" around — probably because this one, instead of focusing on an individual and their choices, focuses on systematic issues embedded in the media we consume. Hollywood's problems are massive, and when we publicly shame those problems we are critiquing — but we're also demanding action. Change has never been made through silence. So if we hang on to one type of "-shaming," let it be the type that challenges harmful systems and the industries that buy into them.