Last week, the Los Angeles Times highlighted five white women for a cover story about a “shift in focus” in the way stories are told on-screen.
Twitter rightfully slammed the Envelope magazine cover, pointing out the startling lack of diversity. People couldn’t help but comment on the hypocrisy of holding these women up as agents of change when the all-white cover suggests little has changed at all in our society in terms of power and privilege. The article itself discusses the working conditions in Hollywood for women and how women are depicted on-screen — but it leaves women of color out of the conversation altogether.
The cover features actresses and female leads Jessica Chastain, Annette Bening, Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan, and Kate Winslet. Now, Jessica Chastain is responding to the backlash — by agreeing with it.
“It’s a sad look that there’s no WOC in this pic of us promoting our female lead films,” she tweeted yesterday (December 23). “The industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling.”
Chastain then asked her followers to name their “favorite WOC lead films” to make up for it. “It’s TERRIBLE that I can’t think of at least 5 female lead films with WOC this year,” she wrote. “In 12 months there’s not even 5?!”
Many people called upon Chastain for an explanation after seeing the cover, pointing out that she has been an advocate for equality in the film industry — and some were unsatisfied with her response.
The L.A. Times cover makes one fact clearer than ever: our society has a long way to go, and the movie industry needs to make a much more concerted effort to tell inclusive stories.