Hollywood and the myth of meritocracy
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This thesis examines the unequal employment opportunity that women and people of color face in the American film and television industry and the rhetoric of meritocracy that justifies the marginalization of racial and gender minorities in Hollywood workplace. I argue that the sanitized language of meritocracy obscures racist and sexist practice with box office numbers and assessments of competency by White and male decision makers. Using historical records of Hollywood, I begin deconstructing the racist and sexist roots of the industry. Supplemented by quantitative research cross-referencing box office performance and worker diversity, this thesis debunks the myth of meritocracy which the industry still perpetuates today. In addition, the thesis explores brand image and award shows as forces of change to Hollywood’s inclusivity in a neoliberal ecopolitical landscape.
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