The other day, or week, or month, (when I started writing this it said “yesterday” but it’s been a while) my husband and I were watching the Oscars. (Yay for Leo)!
Anyway, my husband casually mentioned that he was watching a news report recently that said that approximately 80% of movie directors are males. Then he said “and I was thinking ‘so what?!’ Why does that matter?!”
My first instinct was to throw my shoe at his face. Then I realised I wasn’t wearing any shoes, so decided to talk to him about why that mattered. I explained, calmly and rationally, that it was the fact that people weren’t hiring female directors to direct their films that was the issue. Why is there a perception that a woman cannot do a job as well as a man? Why aren’t female directors being given the same opportunities as their male colleagues? Why aren’t female actors being paid as much as their male counterparts?
Now. I am not a Hollywood expert, I haven’t experienced this firsthand, so I cannot give any further insight into why there is such inequality in the film industry. But I have three daughters, so I can tell you what feminism means to us in this female dominated household.
So here goes…
Addison and I were at a family members home. They have a son who is only slightly older than Addison. It was winter, and the fire was going. The father asked the son to stoke the fire (is that the word? Stoke?), something he has apparently done countless times. Addison asked if she could also stoke the fire (hell no kiddo, I’m not raising a pyro!). The father said “no, that’s a man’s job.
Yep. A man’s job.
I didn’t want her playing with the fire, she’s five. But once we were informed that it was a “man’s job” I wanted to take the pokey thing and show him exactly how well my five year old daughter could stoke a damn fire.
As young girls they’re told not to sit “spread eagled” on the lounge, it’s not ladylike. Yet their father sits there taking up two seats with his legs spread so widely that you could drive a freakin train through there. If they have a little breakdown we’re given the “hormonal girls, just wait until they’re teenagers” talk. Because heaven forbid that a three year old little girl just be cranky and tired and NOT hormonal! It’s cross country time so Addison has been training so hard, but she was told not to worry about trying to keep up with the boys, because boys are faster than girls.
I know these seem like small issues, but if they’re continuously told from a young age that they can’t do things because they’re female, that they won’t be able to keep up with their male counterparts, that blue is a “boy” colour and as such it cannot be their favourite colour, well these small things will build up, and eventually they will believe that their gender is their downfall.
Feminism has been given a bad wrap lately, there is a perception that if a person identifies as a feminist that they are…well crazy, really. But what is feminism? Feminism is the ‘crazy’ idea that a woman is treated equal. It’s not a huge conspiracy. It’s just equality.
What I want for my daughters is that they are given the opportunities to “stoke the fire.” That if Addison wants to be an engineer (her current life goal, she wants to build rollercoasters) that she will not be overlooked because she has a vagina. If Scarlett wants to be an actor (her current life goal is to be Peppa Pig) that she will be given the same pay as her male co-star. That they will be taken seriously, that people will listen to their ideas. That if they decide that they want to stay at home and raise their families, they won’t be told they lack ambition. That they’re allowed to choose blue as their favourite colour!
I do expect that they work for it, things can’t be handed to them. But I don’t want them to be overlooked simply because they are girls.
So if you’re raising a girl, or two, or three or more, when you see a news report that says that 80% of film directors are male, don’t dismiss it. Don’t think (or say out loud) “so what?” Because one day, that could be your daughter trying to break into a male dominated industry, where they’re plenty good enough for the job, they’re just not being given the opportunity because of their gender.
So go forth and feminism!