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[UPDATE] The Hollywood Reporter Ends Rankings in Its Women in Entertainment Power 100 List

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[Update 11/13, 11:25 am – This post now reflects that the ranking system has changed, but that the list does still exist in a new form]

The Women in Entertainment Power 100 List has been a staple of The Hollywood Reporter for twenty-three years. It became a place where, if women saw themselves there, they considered themselves to have “made it,” and so they would compete really hard to get a coveted spot on the list. And that was exactly the problem.

In a post on The Hollywood Reporter’s website, Janice Min announced that THR and their sister publication, Billboard, will be doing away with the rankings in their annual “women’s lists,” because the intention of the lists has ended up not being true in practice. She writes:

There is a phrase that men use, including my male financial-industry boss, when talking about combining assets: “Think how powerful we are if we hunt as a pack.” Women don’t use phraseology like that, but maybe it’s time. Today, as part of that thinking, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard are abolishing the rankings for both lists and instead each anointing a single annual class of a Power 100 (Hollywood Reporter) and a Power 50 (Billboard).

I’ve spent time thinking about our role at The Hollywood Reporter, and also Billboard, another publication I oversee, in this discussion. My job is not to be an advocate but to report fairly and accurately on what the staff sees. But I’ve had a nagging sense that this ranked list of 100 women — and at Billboard, of 50 women in music — isn’t serving its intended goal. When The Hollywood Reporter launched its female power list, its male publisher, Robert Dowling, said, “We felt that this would stand as testimony to young women on the way up, that there is a future for all people in entertainment.” At its heart, he once said of the annual ranking, “This is not a reflection of one woman versus another.”

And yet today, in legend and reality, women fight for position on these lists in ways that don’t always make them, or us, comfortable. THR’s Power 100 list, by its nature, pits the town’s most impressive females against one another. I can’t help but think of a telling passage I read from Lansing’s upcoming biography that describes her ascension in an era when men felt there was room for just one alpha woman at a time at the studios.

This is an interesting change. By all means, with this new rank-less Power 100, I will always clamor for a more diverse array of women on that list, but the fact that there was a ranked female-specific list did rub me the wrong way, forcing women to compete with each other for yet one more thing in an industry that already tries to set them against each other.

What do you think? Is this a welcome change? Let’s have a chat about it in the comments!

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