Hollywood has been getting a lot of flack lately for its lack of diversity. And rightly so—the clear imbalance of onscreen representations of white males to others is reproachable.
Grease, The Notebook, Titanic, Dirty Dancing: what do they all have in common? Besides their heart-wrenching love themes, each movie exemplifies Hollywood’s deficiency in diversity. The film industry has long had issues of inclusion, eschewing representations of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual status for (all) white heterosexual casts. In response to Hollywood’s deplorable uniformity, BuzzFeed took to the industry’s most iconic romances and reimagined them with LGBT characters.
In the video, selected individuals of various race, ethnicity, and sexual and gender identity are transformed into some of Hollywood’s most recognizable characters. Romeo & Juliet is recreated with an interracial gay couple; a black and Asian woman graces the poster of Grease; and a trans woman takes the place of Kristen Stewart in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Even the passionate kiss from The Notebook is redone with gay men—and yes, it’s still hot as hell.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), out of the 114 movie releases from 2014 that they analyzed, only 17.5% of them had characters who identified as LGBT, none of which were transgender. To make matters worse, the majority of gay and bi characters were male and white.
The discrimination doesn’t stop there. In a new study conducted by University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, researchers evaluated over 400 films and shows that were released from September 2014 to August 2015. “They added up representations of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual status,” reported TV critic Eric Deggans on NPR. “Women make up just over half the US population, but only one-third of speaking characters. And those roles were more likely to be sexualized by showing some nudity, wearing sexy clothing or being referred to as physically attractive. People of color are close to 40 percent of the population but only 28 percent of speaking characters. Half the TV and movies examined had no Asian speaking characters, and more than one-fifth had no black people in those roles.”
The United States is a melting pot, and it’s about time that the film industry revise their old conventional ways and embrace diversity. The people have spoken, and the people want representation. It’s your call, Hollywood.