Equality and representation, or lack of thereof, in movies has been a much talked about subject this year, from the Oscars 'So White' controversy and the Hollywood wage gap to Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters. Over the last few years, television has been regarded as a much more open medium, offering up more inclusive casts and crews than its big screen counterpart...
One programme that has caught my eye recently is Channel 4's Humans which started it's second series on Sunday night (30 October) and boasts a wonderfully diverse cast, in terms of both ethnicity and gender – while simultaneously presenting thought-provoking themes of society's dependence on technology. Recently, IBTimes UK chatted to the show's newest recruit, Sonya Cassidy, who is a huge advocate for more women becoming involved in both film and TV, about how its inclusiveness drew her to the show.
"It's definitely something I look for, as a woman in the industry," she told us. "You want to be challenged with roles that don't simply tick an archetypal box that we've seen all too often. That's unsatisfying and more importantly not true to life.
"It's perhaps stating the obvious, but for that which we see in front of the camera to truly reflect what goes on behind it we need to keep pushing the boundary of who and what is there," she said.
"People should feel represented. The arts should act as a mirror, in a sense, and it's no less entertaining, moving or informative for that."
But while you get a sense that Humans is taking a leap of faith in the right direction, it's sadly, still one of a few and there is always room for improvement when it comes to such matters, regardless. Particularly when it comes to getting more female creatives behind the camera rather than in front of it – an issue that Cassidy is all too aware of and helps try to raise awareness about with her Instagram account.
"I think real change comes from those in decision making positions and often that's at the top of organisations/projects," she responded, when IBTimes UK asked how people can help incite positive change.
"But in small, significant ways, on a daily basis I think those of us women (and men) that are currently in the industry can help others progress and learn by supporting each other, celebrating well earned successes and ensuring that the push to equality continues despite steps forward (because there is still a way to go, especially behind the lens)."
"There are some fantastic organisations already doing this: Women in Film and Television, Women In Film, Film Fatales, Illuminatrix, Women in Film and Television History Network, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, among others. As with anything, the more we discuss these issues and support projects that promote diversity, the better. Whether that's gender, ethnicity, social background, disability. Life is more enriched for these things, so we shouldn't be shying away from embracing that on screen/stage."
Humans continues on Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4.
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