March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

fr. ohnotheydidn'

fr. ohnotheydidn’

HELEN MIRREN- be still my heart, I’ve loved her since I first saw her in “Prime Suspect” as police detective Jane Tennison, 1991-2006- she made waves yesterday in her acceptance speech for Empire Magazine’s Legend Award.  She dedicated it:

“… to ‘the girls’.   In her speech, she said: ‘I don’t want to unduly pick on Sam
Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, SKYFALL) but when he spoke about his inspirations earlier this evening, I’m afraid not a single one of the people he mentioned was a woman…Hopefully, in five or 10 years, when Sam’s successor is collecting their Inspiration Award, the list will be slightly more balanced in terms of its sexual make-up.’

She left the stage to cheers of appreciation.  

It’s great to see women sticking up for each other. Especially when only nine percent of directors of the top 250 grossing Hollywood films in 2012 were women.  Even though this is low, it’s a four per cent increase on 2011, the Centre for the study of Women in Television and Film found.”

Here’s the link:

There are many inspirational women directors – they’re just not rewarded in the same way men are – London – News – London Evening Standard.

I’m poking no holes into Sam Mendes here, believe me.  AMERICAN BEAUTY.  Probably in my top five favorite movies ever.  Bravo, Mendes, for all his wonderful movie projects.

BUT HERE’S A SOBERING POINT that struck me sickeningly.  Mendes and I are the same age.  We’re the enlightened generation, right?  We benefited from the hippies.  We “get” women’s rights, women’s issues, equality, non-gender bias, stay-at-home dads, men crying, all that stuff, right?  We are not the old fashioned folks our parents were, right?  And we are raising the next generation, quick as we can, to think more expansively even than we.  Right?  Huh?

So, what’s up with an inspiration list that doesn’t include women, Sam?  The thought chills me.  Were there no women in the industry when you were “brewing?”  I swear I would HONESTLY, no political correctness anywhere near, list men AND women in my batch, but I’ve not been in film.

I’m a Southerner.  Aren’t I the demographic who’s supposed to be so un-evolved?

Are there REALLY no women who’ve influenced the projects you’ve done?

Now, Mr. Mendes has every right to make his own list.

And if his is a list that’s only got men in it, we can’t look at him as the culprit or the bad guy.  The scrutiny belongs upon a general malaise industry wide.  Admit it’s malaise.  Why?

Well, look, if Mr. Mendes had been asked to list folks who’d inspired his choice of jock strap, it’d make sense he list only jock strap users.

But Mendes, and Mirren, are in an industry where both men and women hope to succeed professionally, and which, more soberingly, influences, touches, inspires and cons, I might add, audiences on a global scale.  Those audiences are skewed 51/49 to the women.  We’re not in the men’s department here, we’re in the whole clothing store.

And each season, the styles change.

Helen Mirren and others of us (okay, me), we don’t want to force feed sexual equality to the film and TV industry at the expense of quality work.  That would be just dumb.  We are instead just asking, and pointing out, “what’s missing?”  And forecasting a future.  Which still, it seems, hangs in the balance, like a brilliant new line of designer clothes not yet approved for the sales floor.

Life without women listed as inspirations for world-wide media projects, well, at this point in our cultural history, that’s as bad as life lived walking through gardens and only noticing bugs as you squish them under your feet.  The ones that get away and light on leaves or take refuge on petals, well, hey, they’re there, too.  Pollinating away.  And the garden grows in spite of you.





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