OK, so summer seems a little far off right now. The days are dark and Christmas ads are already losing their emotional hold over me. It’s been a while.
I have an alibi. I spent most of the summer living of the grid in a diy’d camper van. Much as I loved it, the van had no internet, and melted my laptop while we drove, AC free, in Mississippi. But I’m long since back in civilization surrounded by Wi-Fi and cinemas. There are no more excuses.
The honest truth is I’ve been a bit daunted. There is so much to talk about. This has been a blockbuster season for gender equality in film, on screen and off. It’s like one of those classic coming of age movies, where the summer is long and crazy and nothing is ever the same. I hope, anyways, because film wise it’s been very exciting.
We had the bonkers and brilliant Mad Max: Fury Road getting men’s rights activist’s knickers in a twist because it’s lady lead Imperator Furiosa got to be the films biggest bad ass. On the other end of the spectrum was comedy hero Amy Schumer’s Trainwreak, reinvigorating the much loved/often derided rom com format and proving it can be smart, touching and completely filthy.
Genres that are usually pure bro territory took on female leads, in Tomorrowland, Sicero and Spy. We welcomed the first goddamn movie about the English Suffragette movement (Suffragette, obvs). We were treated to Inside Out, possibly the most emotionally stirring Pixar movie yet (that’s saying something: sometimes I cry just at idea of Pixar), starring an 11 year old girl whose emotions were voiced by the likes of Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling.
A personal favorite of mine was having the team behind Frances Ha bring me more quarter life crisis comedy in Mistress America, as well as more of the inimitable Greta Gerwig. There is so much more, including months worth of amazing TV series: Empire, Supergirl, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scream Queens. With all this to catch up on, I’m ready for the deepest, darkest winter.
Off camera there’s been a huge upswing in the great and good of Hollywood speaking out about the bullshit status quo. Rose McGowan found her way to my heart by tweeting a sexist script sent to her by Adam Sandler, but swiftly found herself blacklisted and agentless.
Viola Davis became the first woman of colour to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama (How to Get Away with Murder). Her acceptance speech was particularly stirring: “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity.”
Everyone’s favorite klutz Jennifer Lawrence got serous in an essay on the pay gap: “I’m over trying to find the adorable way to state my opinion’. It’s helped spark many others to air their frustration at being valued much less then their male colleagues.
It’s all about time. Years of discriminatory practices in Hollywood left us an industry so unequal that it is under investigation from the US government. Female directors are now being interviewed as the first step towards a class action suit against Hollywood studios for failing to adhere to the terms of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. Female directors currently make 7% of top grossing films, down 2 % from 1998. This is all thoroughly depressing, though its good to know some action is being taken.
Studios are at least starting to notice that more women in movies is just good business. The all female reboots of Ghost Busters and Oceans 11 are hopefully a sign of more to come. Sure, execs might have exhausted all other avenues to get their franchises back up and running, but at least they’ve cottoned on to the fact that 50% of their audience are women, and there is serious dollar to be made.
So much has happened, you can imagine why I felt intimidated getting started again. It’s like catching up with an old friend after a particularly eventful time apart: you barely scartch the surface of whats been going on. But with great momentum building around gender equality on screen, it’s a good time to get talking again. You can expect far more regular posting, more films and topics outside of the confines of Netflix and also, more doodling, because why not?