Hollywood has always been a male-dominated arena. As of 2014, women make up just 16% of the behind the scenes entertainment workforce. Is anybody surprised by that fact? With all the buzz of Emma Watson’s recent feminism speech at the UN, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. Here’s my two cents on it all, being a woman in a man’s world.
Being a young woman in the entertainment industry, I’ve never given my career path a second thought, or have felt as though I wouldn’t be given ample opportunity. Chop it up to my over confidence, or my overwhelming belief in success, or my strong Dad-who always brought me up to believe that anything my brother could do, I could do…better. Whatever it may be, I have always felt as an equal in my own right even though college courses, statistics, and tenacious professors insist differently.
I’ve always felt that I could have my cake and eat it, too…or sandwich. Either way, Tina, either way.
Well known feminist Gloria Steinem appeals to the feminist in me by saying “Women are always saying, ‘We can do anything that men can do.’ But men should be saying, ‘We can do anything that women can do.’” I think this is far from what Watson preached in her #heforshe campaign speech. And it’s not how feminism should be viewed, either. Sorry, Gloria-you’re dated, I’m going to jump on the HP bandwagon.
In her recent speech, Watson had the sagacity to understand that equality will continue to be elusive unless men are, in her words, “invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation.” That we can’t affect change in the world when half of it is seemingly unwelcome. In order to begin to initiate that change, and affect the latter audience we must begin to perceive gender on a spectrum and not as two opposing sets of ideals. This is how I see feminism. This is the part of me that says if my Director wants to cry in front of me because he had a hard day, he shouldn’t feel ashamed to do so, that if I need to fire somebody, give an order, or speak up so that I may exude strength, power and courage I should feel free of all doubt and judgment.
A good friend iterates that sexuality is fluid and I believe so too should gender. Just hear me out here because this is the future talking. Stereotypes are utterly damaging. We’ve all been marginalized at some point during our lives-be it from poverty, sexuality, race, gender, etc. The marginalization happening to this day is on account of vast and seemingly unavoidable stereotyping behavior (encouraged by the media-don’t even get me started on that). And the spectrum that Watson suggests seeks to disencumber these. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer. Freer to cry when the situation calls for it. Freer to be a dick when somebody deserves it. Freer to be sensitive to opposing ideals. Freer to feel the abandon and euphoria that pours over you when you stop worrying about what other people think of you.
Watson’s speech provides a courageous start for us all. We’re headed in the right direction, but the entertainment industry and I’m assuming most other industries still have a ways to go. Those 16% of women have all felt unequal at some point or another. Even that fearless little girl brought up by her Dad to believe that she was always just one of the boys has felt it. I think I’m one of the truly lucky ones though because I work with such caring men that have very very seldom made me feel small. They nearly see things on a spectrum and very often allow me to take control, be the leader, and close deals with powerful men in the industry, which has ultimately allowed me to grow and become more confident. Sometimes a little too confident. Do you hear me, Mark and Gary? You’re creating a monster!! If all men in the entertainment industry were like Mark and Gary-willing, open, and encouraging of women in a leadership position-the world could very well be an unrecognizable place.
“So what I love about feminism is that it seems like an irrefutable concept, which is equality, caring for each other, supporting each other, looking out for each other and being strong in the face of a lot of societal factors that are telling us to sit down and shut up.” Lena Dunham
The official journal of the National Organization for Women printed in January 1988: “The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.” Ti-Grace Atkinson, an early member of NOW who founded the group The Feminists, added, “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice.”
Lena- you are my idol. NOW-that’s some bullshit.