“Two and a Half Men” Creator Says Too Many Women Are On T.V. — Numbers Show Otherwise
2:45 pm, April 2nd | by Amy Tennery
In case you do think I’m joking, let me be clear: Aronsohn says we’ve reached max capacity for female characters and their raunchy, gross, lady humor.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Aronsohn recently complained about the many female-centric shows on T.V.:
“Enough ladies. I get it. You have periods… But we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.” The current female T.V. boom contrasts with “Two and a Half Men” portraying women as bimbos, something Aronsohn isn’t about to apologize for. “Screw it… we’re centering the show on two very damaged men. What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.”
Women: We’re the worst.
You know what? Like Aronsohn, I’m also deeply concerned about the gender distribution among television professionals. I agree, there is inequity at play, and the balance of power between entertainment professionals — male and female — is terribly skewed. So let’s talk about gender issues in television. Please.
In fact, let’s turn to the Women’s Media Center’s data on women and television, which outlines just how many women are employed in the entertainment industry.
For starters, in its 2012 report on “The Status Of Women In The Media, let’s look at women in behind-the-scenes occupations in television, the people who control what kind of characters get on T.V.:
Look at us taking over!
So, the closest we’ve ever come to having parity with guys was in 2009 when women comprised 39 percent of television entertainment producers. And a whopping 15 percent of writers last television season were women. Am I missing the part where the female perspective is dominant? Or is it that, in fact, it’s the guys who are still in control?
Female characters, meanwhile, accounted for 41 percent of all fictional characters on T.V., according to Women’s Media Center data. We’re not even close to the majority.
Granted, this data doesn’t include the 2011-2012 season. (Women’s Media Center data only goes through last season but, for what it’s worth, GLAAD data shows roughly 43 percent of fictional T.V. characters are women).
And sure, it does seem that women (and shows about women) have had something of a renaissance this season, with programs like “New Girl,” “Whitney” and “2 Broke Girls” taking off. But was this season really devoid of dude-focused entertainment? No.
This season we saw “Man Up,” “How To Be A Gentleman,” and “Work It” all premiere. But maybe it feels like women are dominant because all of those bro-shows were cancelled. It’s not that women are getting more of a fair shot — it’s that the “women’s shows” didn’t get canned. Is it because those shows were better? Is it because people are tired of Dude T.V.? That’s anyone’s guess. But to argue that women are given more of a shot than guys (or that, somehow, we’re overtaking men in the television industry) is ridiculous.
But period jokes, Aronsohn? You’re right — maybe we ladies should take a cue from your show to better understand what kind of potty humor is acceptable for family programing. As punishment for enjoying ladybit comedy, let’s take a moment to comb through “Two And A Half Men’s impressive assortment of penis jokes. Or its many jokes about “masturbation, oral sex, sex with moms, trading cigarettes for sex,” and other assorted instances of dude-approved humor. Much cleaner. Much more tasteful.