All posts in rants

How Women Were Written Out of Film History – re-blogged article

Monika Bartyzel is a wonderful writer, and blogs on The Week (among other sites) with a column called “Girls on Film.”  Here is one of her articles I wanted to share:

Influential filmmakers like Alice Guy-Blaché were essential to the development of cinema — but modern filmmakers and historians still overlook their accomplishments

“I Hate Strong Female Characters” – re-blogged article

“Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.”

read full article here

Re-blogged from Sophia McDougall‘s article in NewStatesman, because she says absolutely what I have been trying to say on the topic.  The article is brilliant – give it a read!

When a woman calls, say Yes

I was reading through the notes from the Women Directors Summit that the DGA held in April of this year.  The “Employment Equity Matters” panel had a summary of suggestions from the panelists on action steps to help achieve equity:

Debbie Allen:  “It’s action, not sitting in a room and talking. We need ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!”

Nancy Meyers: We need to support women execs.

Nia Vardalos: “Use our economic power.  Boycotts.”  

Mimi Leder: “Start an all-women studio.”

Debbie Allen suggests “…holding out, starting a movement, a revolution.”

Robin Swicord suggests we “…hire an attorney to go to court; a Federally protected civil rights case.  The DGA has the power and resources sitting right here.” 

Betty Thomas: “Stand up!”

Martha Coolidge asks: “What can we aim for to make the equity a reality?”

Mimi Leder: Aim to start a studio for women.

Amy Heckerling: For women to support women.

Debbie Allen: Create a committee for a movement.  Must have a concept, title, be viral, use economic power, inspire, and respect action.

Catherine Hardwicke: Celebrate & encourage people who do hire women.

Martha Coolidge: Utilize the internet to do our own publicity/promotion.

Nancy Meyers: Embrace all women executives at studios and meet w/studios.  Make noise wherever you can.

Robin Swicord: Employment access is a federally protected civil right.  Involve US labor bureau and hire a lawyer.  Approach the problem legally.

I particularly love Mimi Leder’s idea of an all women studio (Mimi, how can I help you make that happen??) but the one thing that wasn’t said directly that I would contribute is “When a woman calls, say Yes.”

Hollywood is a cutthroat environment.  Everyone is out for themselves, which means you have to be out for yourself as well, or you will continually be taken advantage of.  Women learn this lesson harder than men, I feel, because there is a definite perception that women will take and should be satisfied with less.  Financially, artistically, psychologically.  There is an expectation that women command smaller salaries than men (this is so much the paradigm that it makes news headlines when there is an exception to the rule), women are expected to be satisfied with less compelling characters (one-dimensional) who are less central to the story (the wife, the girlfriend, the f*ck), and they should be grateful for the positions behind the camera that are graciously allowed to them (offer her 2nd AC instead of 1st AC, she’ll take it because she’s a girl, whereas a man wouldn’t be satisfied with being 2nd fiddle).

This perception that women will be satisfied with less (it’s that or nothing, after all), carries over when we interact with each other.  We women use that same set of rules interpersonally, and tend to bargain harder, try to get more, and say No more easily to other women – after all, they should be satisfied with what they get, right?

If we really want this to change, one of the components is that we need to say Yes to other women in the business.  Not quite the project you were looking for?  Say Yes anyway.  Not quite the salary you wanted?  If it’s a woman’s project, say Yes anyway.  If you are in a position of power, use it to open the door for more women – remember the noise Natalie Portman made about demanding a female director for Thor II?  She made it quite clear that she would say Yes if a woman directed the project. That’s exactly what we need.  Let the business know, the way to get women to work for you is to get more women involved in the project. To put women in positions where they are making the offers.

I’m asking other women to put the ensemble above the individual – in this case our ensemble is our gender.  This is not at all what Hollywood has beaten into us, so it requires a definite mental shift.  A rising tide lifts all boats, however, so remember:  When a Woman Calls, Say YES.