Friday, 31 July 2015

Waiting For a Revolution

I've noticed recently that there has been quite a stir on the subject of women in film. And feminism in general. I'm quite proud of this and also sceptical as I don't think I've ever been a 'proper' feminist. 

In terms of the film industry and in other industries I have of course noticed sexism left right and centre, and it's been blantent too. Sometimes subtle but not often. Sexism is creeping back into the limelight and it's good in a way but I know, sadly, that it will soon die down. 

I  know I got all uppity about the '100 Greatested Characters' feature in Empire, a magazine I have a lot of love for, having read it since 2003, but it just annoyed me. To most readers, who are most likely men, would have thought nothing of this. The people I noticed who did step back and go 'huh?' were other film bloggers. The audience out there, beyond the cinephile circles, don't care about female characters. But when shown or given the option to see films where women are the focus, the audience will watch, but they're not given a place by the male dominated industry. 

I found that men could make something medioacre and enjoyable, very average and be praised. But if a woman made a similar type of film, they would be judged and said that they're film 'bombed' and then forever more be under the critical eye of critics and peers. What I'm saying is, women are judged more harshly and not often given another chance to shine. 

We know women are creative. Little White Lies celebrates female filmmakers, well, a select list of them, in their latest issue. Despite being shocked that Nadine Labaki was not included in the list [I had a short Twitter conversation with them about this] I thought the whole issue was a brilliant celebration. It brought to light some films and filmmakers I hadn't seen or heard of and I am always looking to champion a female filmmaker. But the fact that only 7 or 8% of the films made are made by a woman is just pitiful. The subject is brought up regularly but in small ways, but it always seems to be that awkward conversation that people try to brush under the carpet. Everyone is aware of it but no one wants to talk about it for too long.

I read an article in a free magazine with Robin Wright on the cover, the title on the cover was 'WE NEED A REVOLUTION' and she's right. In the article she talks about her life, ex-husbands, her children  and  more interstingly, her career. It used to be a topic that there was no good roles for women over 40 and now its just, there are very few good roles for women. Robin Wright says that she's fed up of playing the 'pained wife' role and I hear her. I'm fed up of seeing great actresses in the 'wife' or girlfriend' role, the filler role. It's dull.

The good roles seem to be on TV which is fine but film needs a boost. If more stories about women were written and then allowed to be made, things could be on they're way to change. At the moment though these 'women' films are mostly indies or niche films. I know I mention it everytime, but what Cate Blanchette said at the Oscars was right.

Another thing that RW mentioned in the article was Rosanna Arquette's mention about equal pay in USA. This is part of the whole sexism thing, women are deemed worthy enough to paid the same! Emms Thompson recently brought this to light, oh in a very small article in a free commuter newspaper.   Just a few lines from a respected, writer, producer, actress but its small news apparently. In another article online (link above) her comments are stretched out further to say that "... nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent."

 I'm not sure what to say on reflection as I think the struggle against sexism in the film industry will need everyone to band together. But with film festivals dedicated to celebrating women opening then closing and other schemes that are aimed to encourage and support women in the industry being few and far between, we are looking at being in this for the long haul. But we should never give up. Women are creartive and should be given a chance to show it not scrape by trying to prove themselves.


  1. I completely agree - female empowerment and equality, not only in Hollywood but the world, is a "current" issue but it keeps getting swept under the rug. So many actresses and directors are going out and making their own work, and yet it still gets underappreciated. We also need more men to recognize women as creative, smart and capable people. And if a movie does poorly at the box office, it's not held against future female filmmakers forever, or if a movie does well the female audience isn't scoffed at or its success is made to seem like blind luck. So much more can be done if we move passed whispering about it and bigger strides are taken. I keep having hope, and in the meantime, continue to encourage and support actresses, directors, and women of creative types everywhere. Great post and keep on talking about this - it keeps the issue at the forefront and not forgotten. :)

  2. Thank you! I will keep talking about it, I agree that men should recognize women as creative, too many times have I heard and seen women being referred to as the 'organisers' and 'no they're really in charge'. Let them be creative. Everytime there is a film festival aimed at celebrating women I'm for it, but they keep disappearing, like Birds Eye View, but they've actually turned in a training place now, so many its not all bad. What seems to be happening is that the issues are being talked about but then it just becomes only female creatives still talking about it, interest needs to engage (sorry to say this but) the masses. Women helping women, getting their work out there. It can happen, it will happen and I will keep on talking about it, with pride :)