I’ve wanted to pen this article since I can remember, but I never found the courage, until now, maybe it has something to do with my turning 40 soon. Don’t worry, I won’t go into a long-winded spiel about how sexism and discrimination plague the cinematic fabric, or how an anonymous website for women in the industry has taken root so they can vent without being shunned in their workplace. No, I’d just like to offer food for thought, and maybe a solution or two.
Let me just say for the record, it sucks! It’s not fair, I hate that my sex defines me, I hate that other peoples skin colour defines them, and I hate that anything deemed different is bad. I think women and men are created equal with fundamental differences that together make them great. We each bring something valuable and it’s time we acknowledge that. And, this is more than a sectorial problem it is a pervasive reality for all realms that make up a society, take Silicon Valley for example, or politics and upper business management, only to name a few.
So instead of re-hashing the issues I’d like to offer solutions, because as much as we need activists to push our rights further – thank you to my working mother, my fierce feminist father, and my trailblazing sister, I feel we need to enlist more men to our cause. We focus so much of our attention on the few bad seeds that can’t handle women with a voice, those same men that argue they can only hire someone they can have a beer with at the end of the day, or they can’t talk to a woman without wanting to “f&$ck her”… Seriously! And I won’t even get into the discrimination if God forbid you bore children. Are we really wasting our energy on such stupid people like this? We can denounce them, but we’re scared and rightly so. Idiots are scary. I can assure you though, good honest, respectful men don’t want to deal with these men either, but the industry is thus made up that power and money go a long way. And, perhaps I’m naïve in thinking we can change the system together, but I really believe if as a people we push against bigotry as opposed to women against men, we just might have a fighting chance, because it’s one thing to get into the program, it is quite another to be accepted in it. To belong.
So my plea here today is for you men of the world. Rally with women and help them fight against stupidity. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt for boldly claiming he is a feminist, or Joss Whedon for giving us Buffy, and talking about the lack of female leads, but how about taking this one step further? (Please note that I’m unaware if they have or have not done this, but just for arguments sake.) Next time you direct a movie why not hire a female student as a co-director just so the cast and crew can get used to seeing these typically male dominated roles with females in them. (As Geena Davis so eloquently puts it, please keep me in mind for this.) Yet, I am confident if influential directors did this in Hollywood we would see a sharp turn-around in discrimination and maybe an uptick in female roles, such as director and director of photography. Or, how about stipulate in your contract that more roles on set need to be filled by female candidates? Maybe I’m asking too much of our infamous feminist directors, maybe I’m asking them to put their career on the line, maybe I’m picking on the wrong dudes, but aside from us pushing our way in and being hated for it, I don’t see how we can do this and be accepted without their help.
This fight belongs to all of us, and I don’t think it’s enough to voice our opinions anymore we need some concrete action. These ideas are in direct relation to some of my female peers and if you are curious I urge to read, “How Hollywood keeps women out.” by Jessica P. Ogilvie, or “Two easy-steps” by Geena Davis, and “Seven bold tips for fighting sexism in the film industry” by Rose McGowan, these are solutions to incorporate the next time you cast your film, or write your script and I think we need more of those. Maybe we can create a movement that extends beyond the walls of filmmaking.
Once again, perhaps I am being naïve, and most likely I am crushing my career even before it starts, because by the sound of it, anyone who dares stir the pot is most likely isolating themselves from the community. I thought long and hard before writing about this, and I want nothing more than to work and be part of the existing community even if at the moment it is an all boys club, because in the end I figured I’d much rather be part of the change and work in that struggle than be a silent victim struggling to keep her job.
“It’s about being alive and feisty and not sitting down and shutting up even though people would like you to.” PINK
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” Rosanne BARR
”Why do you write strong female characters? ”
”Because you’re still asking me that question.” Josh Whedon
Share your thoughts with me. Tell me what you think? Maybe you have solutions you want to share, and who knows we just might get to create something together.
The anonymous writer … just kidding!
How Hollywood Keeps Women Out by Jessica P. Ogilvie
Two Easy Steps to Make Hollywood less Sexist by Geena Davis
Rose McGowan’s 7 Bold Tips for fighting sexism in the Film Industry