The Limits of #MeToo in Hollywood: Gender and Power in the Entertainment Industry

McFarland. Jun. 2021. 201p. ISBN 9781476684956. pap. $39.95. FILM
Several years after the rise of the #MeToo movement, how is Hollywood addressing its legacy of gender inequality? Looking at popular genres in entertainment (reality TV, comedy, medical dramas), Tally (social and public policy, SUNY Empire State Coll.; The Rise of the Anti-Heroine in TV’s Third Golden Age) notes that some genres have explored stories of sexual harassment more deeply. Comedies, she contends, provide the “capacity to both mock and reveal larger cultural anxieties around social change, including relations between the sexes.” Tally also looks at the role of intimacy coordinators, who help negotiate more comfortable situations for performers acting out sexual scenarios on sets. She considers the idea of a backlash toward presenting women’s stories in popular culture and wonders if #MeToo is just a moment in time or a real social movement. One especially striking part of the book is Tally’s examination of the #MeToo movement in countries other than the U.S. and the cultural differences between nations. At times the writing is unfocused, offering excessive detail about the plot lines of various shows without sufficient analysis; still, the book packs a wallop as Tally explains the structural changes—or lack thereof—in Hollywood, since the beginnings of the #MeToo movement.
VERDICT Readers interested in pop culture will find this an enlightening look at the role of women as a creative force in media.
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