A common explanation for the lack of women in a particular field, amongst haters, is that women just aren’t as skilled as men at certain things. If there’s inequality in comedy, it’s because women just aren’t funny. The lack of women in science and engineering is due to the fact that women just aren’t good at math. And on and on.
These are, of course, incredibly sexist and tired arguments. They aren’t based on anything more than stereotypical assumptions that basically make no sense. But it’s always nice when you can debunk terrible logic with facts.
Which is why we should be excited about Sunday’s Emmys. For the first time ever, half of the directing nominees are women. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has decided that 50% of the best episodes of television aired in the last year were directed by women. So while women continue to be woefully underrepresented behind-the-camera, it’s ludicrous to dismiss that inequity with arguments like “women just can’t direct” (though some people, inevitably, still will).
It’s particularly thrilling that Michelle MacLaren is up for an episode of “Breaking Bad,” which is not only the consensus best show on television, but one that doesn’t quite fit the stereotypes about the kinds of things women “can” direct.
Of course, even as we celebrate the increase in nominations, the statistics below tell a bigger story about continued underrepresentation, lack of opportunity (particularly for women of color) and lack of recognition. But a win on Sunday for MacLaren, or any of the other nominees, would be a significant step towards further silencing the haters.
Graphic by Annie Hoertkorn and Imran Siddiquee
Imran is the Director of Social Media and Outreach at MissRepresentation.org. Follow him on Twitter @imransiddiquee