Building diversity, equality, and representation into large media production
There is a growing awareness that representation, both in staffing and in final product, has a profound impact on social and business outcomes. Media and gaming companies like Facebook, Blizzard Entertainment, and Bioware, among others, are making efforts – with varying degrees of success – to increase the inclusion of women in influential roles. Their dedication to increasing representation of minorities, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA communities is not as clear, nor is their interest in accurate depictions of world cultures.
Increased monetary value, as well as intangibles like customer and fan base loyalty, from accurate and diverse representation is a known fact. Convincing large corporations to use this knowledge and build it into their business plans from the start is a different question. As so many aspects of a large scale production are already broken down into formulae for use by production managers and producers, it would seem that having a clear outline for a diversity blueprint is the next logical step.
Organizations like the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Mediaare already doing work to make easy, equality-based decisions in filmmaking the norm. Using this data as a starting point to address the gender balance of the film production community, as well as gender balance of characters in films, here in Ireland is the first part of this thesis. Expansion into other markets (Europe and North America to start), as well as other platforms (video gaming, television, and related licensing and marketing) will be the subject of further research, most likely for a PhD.
For further reading here is a recent post on why the video game industry needs to take the initiative in gender equality. On a related note, here are a couple of helpful videos with Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. The first explains what the Bechdel Test is. The second addresses “Gamergate” on the Colbert Report.