Kristen Stewart is joining the female directors club, but says ‘it feels phony’ to celebrate them

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Kristen Stewart sounds happy about the work being done by Hollywood’s female directors, but feels there’s still not enough women at the helm of projects in the entertainment industry.

Stewart is working on directing her first feature film, based on the 2011 memoir from Lidia Yuknavitch, “The Chronology of Water.” In a conversation with Porter about the project, Steward said, “[There’s a] thinking that we can check these little boxes, and then do away with the patriarchy, and how we’re all made of it.”

“It’s easy for them to be like, ‘Look what we’re doing. We’re making Maggie Gyllenhaal’s movie! We’re making Margot Robbie’s movie!’ And you’re like, OK, cool,” Stewart said. “You’ve chosen four… And I’m in awe of those women, I love those women [but] it feels phony. If we’re congratulating each other for broadening perspective, when we haven’t really done enough, then we stop broadening.”

There’s data to back up her feelings.

“Only 30 of the 100 top-grossing movies in 2023 had a girl or woman in a lead or co-lead role. This is a substantial downturn from 2022 when 44 films had a girl/woman lead,” according to a February report by USC Annenberg that looked at 1,700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2023 to examine the gender, race/ethnicity, and age of the leading and co-leading actors for each movie.

“This is a catastrophic step back for girls and women in film. In the last 14 years, we have charted progress in the industry so to see this reversal is both startling and in direct contrast to all of the talk of 2023 as the ‘year of the woman,’” Smith said in a statement. “These numbers are more than just a metric of how often girls and women are in protagonist roles. They represent the career opportunities offered to women in the film industry. This year, we found that those opportunities have drastically constricted.”

The report also looked at “how often directors of films with women and underrepresented leads/co-leads were from the same identity group.”

“Of the 30 movies with a girl or woman in a lead/co-lead role, 36.7% were directed by women and 63.3% were directed by men,” the study found. “Roughly half (51.3%) of the 37 films with an underrepresented lead/co-lead had an underrepresented director, while 48.7% did not. In contrast, 4.3% of films without a girl/woman lead had a woman director and 9.5% of films without an underrepresented lead had an underrepresented director.”

Stewart’s latest film, “Love Lies Bleeding,” hit theaters in March.

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