Last week, I asked if trending phrases about Hollywood’s problems online can create a change in the industry. Many minority actors are embracing the discussion about diversity and are joining in on the hashtags. They want to help make Hollywood more inclusive by sharing their thoughts about possible solutions.
Hashtags that address problems in Hollywood are effective in creating a change by trending on social media, showing studios how their lack of diversity is not going unnoticed.
By having these phrases trend on social media, topics about specific problems gain exposure to more users and have people realize that these issues exist and are currently happening. Those on Twitter or Facebook who typically wouldn’t think about inclusion in Hollywood, would see something like #OscarsSoWhite trending and it’d make them start thinking about what exactly the controversy is, why it’s still happening, and what can be done to prevent it in the future. Trending hashtags encourage users to look at what others are saying and chime in with an opinion of their own. With more and more people talking about it and calling the industry out on their racism and sexism by thousands of people online, Hollywood can no longer ignore that this is happening.
Those in the industry were then forced to address the lack of diversity as hashtags sparked the conversation about why it happens so often. #StarringJohnCho and #WhitewashedOUT both addressed whitewashing in Hollywood that has been happening and Asian-American actors have spoken up and shared their own personal experiences with whitewashing. John Cho himself, who wasn’t even affiliated with the movement, approved of the hashtag starting the conversation in a positive way and getting many people to really think about it.
The latter hashtag was made by Margaret Cho, Ellen Oh, and the Nerds of Color, to let people know that they’re “tired of Hollywood acting as though Asian Americans don’t exist, and want to let them know that [they] aren’t watching these whitewashed movies”. By having these trend, they are reaching out to the public to join their movement and gain support from those who aren’t personally affected by it. They want their stories to be heard so change can finally happen.
The #OscarsSoWhite tag actually created a direct result within the Academy Awards as they invited new members in order to make the voters more diverse. The Oscars knew they had to do something to fix their problem, since it was amplified through social media and their diversity issue was thrust into the limelight. They hope by including more women and minorities with the new members that they have invited, like John Boyega, Emma Watson, and Mary J. Blige, it will result in having a more diverse variety of nominees for the next Oscars. The Academy was affected by the opinions of their online critics and quickly made an internal change that was long overdue.
There has only been one direct change from hashtags and that is with the Academy Awards, which is appropriate because that’s where the conversation began. More changes can be made if the voices of the public are being heard and as long as they keep calling Hollywood out on being problematic. Lack of diversity cannot be ignored with enough voices speaking out about the same problem.