Monday, February 1, 2010

Crossdressers (Women in the Film Industry)

It's funny. We tend to think we're so sophisticated in modern times, way ahead of our ancestors, but are we really so forward in our thinking? The film industry is ruled by old, rich, white guys. While minorities are becoming more-and-more represented in the film industry, the real minority are those of a different gender.

Kathryn Bigelow, the director of The Hurt Locker, recently became the first woman ever to win the Director's Guild Award for Excellence in Film Directing. If she winds up getting nominated tomorrow by the Academy, which there is no doubt she will, she will be only the fourth woman to ever be nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Film has been in existence for over a hundred years now, and we're still stuck in a chauvinistic rut, where we find it staggering if a woman manages to rise to any sort of power and fame and get recognition within the film industry. The first thought is: Wait, she's not an actress?

Is the film industry really that behind the times? Women's lib was four or five decades ago. Bras are no longer burning cause the blazes don't need to burn any higher. There is supposed to be something called equal rights, but that is not so in the film industry.

The only times you ever really see a woman's name attached to a movie is either as an executive producer, costume designer, or in the most common scenarios, an actress, but then where are the rest of the female artists? They're repressed, either finding no work, or being delegated to have to work in independent film and never get the chance to crack a studio film the way that their male counterparts get to do.

I don't think there is a shortage of female filmmakers, I've learned from all of my college film classes, they're actually as common as male filmmakers, it's just harder for them to make a lasting impact in Hollywood cause men can't get past their gender.

If a woman wants to pitch a film to a studio executive, he'll probably think, "Oh, no, here comes Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3001," when in all actuality the woman wanted to pitch her epic sci-fi/fantasy about 10-foot-tall cat people who fight humans on a distant alien planet. The film she was going to pitch could have made the studio billions, but due to sexism in the film industry, the woman was never seen by the exec and the exec takes a male filmmaker's pitch instead to reboot Leave it to Beaver for the big screen. Uh, oh. So what are woman in the industry to do?

I'll tell you what they need to do. Like many writers in the 1800's and such, adopt a male name, never do public appearances or interviews, and fool everyone into thinking that you're a man in order to make a film. If that doesn't work, go to the extreme and dress up like a man. It worked for Mulan, maybe it will work for you too. Am I the only one that finds something wrong with such drastic measures?

Hopefully if Kathryn Bigelow can become the first woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar come March 7th, then perhaps it might spur a revolution. After all, making something from just one kind of perspective is never healthy for any kind of industry, so why not get the opposite to broaden the landscape.

To get fired up, take a listen to the best song in Disney's Mulan.

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