White men win big at the Emmys

A white dude.

The Primetime Emmys aired last night, and it was another big win for white dudes (and not just because of the appearance of every feminist’s favorite person, Charlie Sheen). Out of 25 categories presented last night white guys won all the individual awards that weren’t in lady-only categories (they swept writer/director awards but failed to capture Best Supporting Actress).

Awards like those for the best Comedy and Drama are given out to writing or producing teams, and a few women managed to make it on stage there. However, all the winning teams had men billed first, and on teams of 10-15ish people there were typically about 2 women.

Racialicious has a breakdown of the Emmy numbers by race, and those are even worse. While the occasional person of color managed to make it to the stage for a team win, people of color were the solo winner of zero awards last night. The list of 208 total Emmy nominees (including in categories not broadcast last night) included only 13 people of color.

These numbers are not surprising. After all, white dudes directed 77% of all TV episodes last year, so it’s not like there were a lot of women to choose from.

TV tends to do a better job than movies of representing women and people of color, if only because there’s more of it. The medium allows for programming targeted at smaller audiences, which means you can actually have shows geared at female and POC viewers. Blockbuster movies tend to be made for the one audience Hollywood understands: men obsessed with toys and video games from their childhood. Yet the people being recognized for making TV are still incredibly overwhelmingly white and male.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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Join the Conversation

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    Television has only occasionally braved going after anything more than the low hanging fruit. The few shows that are intelligent and thought-provoking have their runs, then go off the air. So long as people think progressive television isn’t profitable, this will never change.

    And with the advent of the internet, most entertainment entities have flipped out and are trying to go with the tried-and-true only.

  • http://feministing.com/members/jmoma/ jmom

    In the sea of white people audience, I almost felt like I had gone back in time, when tv only had one group of people. Maybe I’m just a little sensitive in today’s “Politically correct pseudo world” , but I really think tv is going backwards, maybe too Madmenish? How can we equalize this problem?

  • http://feministing.com/members/sierra1984/ Sierra Ramirez

    White men may have swept the emmys, but let us not forget that a little person, Peter Dinklage, was in their number. Is this a first? I think it’s pretty important.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alltomorrowsparties/ A.C.

    NYT ran a nominee breakdown a few days ago & had a bit on how Amy Poehler & Parks & Rec were great but didn’t stand a chance since the show revolves around an upbeat feminist who does her government job well…just so fucked & proven to be true. Hoping one day the show gets credit where major credit is due.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tonycereal/ Tony Colicchio

    For what it’s worth, I thought it was amazing when the Lead Actress in a Comedy nominees rushed the stage and received a standing ovation. Best moment of the night for me.

  • http://feministing.com/members/billywilliams/ billy williams

    I also can’t help but feeling that members of the righting staff who were-female/minority/-both!-were mostly just tokens for the staff of that show 2 claim they are not racist/sexist/-both!-why is it that when minorities/women/-both,are depicted in the media or part of it they are usually valued as nothing more than just TOKENS!-i ye ye!

  • http://feministing.com/members/billywilliams/ billy williams

    ya i would agree though that it is not the emmys fault at the lack of diversity,just the media itself.