Women Making Big Explosions: Gender Inequality in Visual Effects

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What do LOTR, The Avengers, and Inception all have in common? That’s right. Special effects. But how often do women working in special effects get the credit they deserve?

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Unfortunately, the lack of gender parity seen in both film and tech fields overall is also evident in VFX (VFX: visual effects. Green screen, animation, drawing tigers into the middle of the ocean, stuff like that), where the struggles of many women go unnoticed. Companies like Google and Facebook are making a lot of (good) noise about this gender inequality. They’re trying to even it out. So why are VFX women so easily overlooked? Simple. Nobody thinks about it.

Here’s one problem. Working in VFX is hard enough as it is. According to TechCrunch many VFX workers have sixteen-hour-long days staring at the screen while painstakingly working on timing the explosions just right, or adding the metal shing-shing noise to a transforming yellow Chevrolet, or literally recreating the universe. It’s a heck of a lot of work.

Then you have “Porn Fridays.” Sonya Teich and Raqi Syed, VFX artists writing for TechCrunch, explain:

Those who have not worked in visual effects may find themselves appalled by a casual anti-corporate culture in which company-wide mailing lists devoted to ‘Porn Fridays,’ conferences featuring “booth babes” in skin-tight motion-capture suits and crass gynecology jokes.

Uh. What. No. This is the kind of culture that women are dealing with when working in the field of visual effects.

Syed and Teich go on to explain that you can work for ten years in the industry going from studio to studio and never run into a VFX female boss. And women who are also moms have a 79% higher chance of…not getting hired.

Women shouldn’t be afraid or uncomfortable in the movie-making field, whether on screen or behind it. They do amazing work but they don’t get acknowledged or even fair treatment.

But seriously, why is this still a problem? C’mon Hollywood, get it together.

(via TechCrunch)

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