Dare I say that it’s trendy to talk about female filmmakers? I don’t just mean female directors, but females working in all positions within the industry, whether they be directors, assistant directors, producers, director of photographers, dolly grips, gaffers, make up artists, etc. Yes, I do dare to say that talking about women in the industry is trendy, but it is also important. The point of this blog post is not to comment on some new fad where it’s cool to talk about equality in the industry, but rather to highlight the importance of constantly striving towards work place equality, not to mention to bring awareness to those currently unaware of what may be happening behind the scenes.
Over the last couple of months, the Internet has been teeming with articles, blog posts, info graphs, and letters directed at bringing workplace inequality to the forefront of discussion. I will be mainly discussing the topic of gender equality in Hollywood, as it is a subject I would feel shamed to ignore. Perhaps the two most popular points of discussion on the internet today revolve around the idea of sexism and gender inequality for females trying to break into the movies: Sh*t People Say To Women Directors and the ACLU Letter on Exclusion of Women Directors.
Anyone who has visited “Sh*t People Say to Women Directors” will be amazed at some of the things directed to women on set, some Hollywood sets and some not. My instant reaction was a mixture of shame and defiance. As a woman, I have struggled through my own battle of sexism, both in the work place and out, and while it often drags me down and makes me feel like there isn’t a point trying anymore, this blog actually lifted me on my feet again. Reading some of the harsh comments that women receive while on set made me realize that now is a time for awareness. Now is a time for speaking up. What this blog helped me realize was that now women have a voice and a pedestal to shout it from. No, our industry isn’t perfect, but yes, you have a right to stand up and tell everyone it needs fixing.
Shortly after the blog “Sh*t People Say to Women Directors” premiered, one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments in film history occurred: the ACLU penned a 15 page letter to United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, demanding an investigation be made into the workings of Hollywood in relation to the exclusion of “women directors from employment in directing episodic television and feature films.” This is a major step in the right direction for all women in film, not just female directors. The industry has veiled itself against criticism for years, and as any good artist knows, criticism leads to growth. Without accepting feedback on where you stand, how are you ever able to take a step forward, to expand your horizons, and look onward towards the future?
As the infograph above explains, and as the ACLU letter explains, women are categorically shut out from the movie industry for other, “more experienced,” or other, “more masculine,” options. As the tumblr blog highlights, women are often objectified on set rather than respected for their abilities in their positions. Any woman working in the industry today can attest to the lingering male dominated attitudes, myself included. To ignore this fact is to shut yourself away from change, or the possibility of change. To me, accepting the pitfalls of my career choice is not something that deters me from continuing in my dream; in fact, it pushes me forward.
Artists strive for their work. Creators will never put down their pen, paintbrushes or cameras. The beauty of being an artist is knowing that no matter what system holds you down, your soul will crave creation and will always propel you forward.