Miss Movie Maker Deserves Recognition
Op-Ed By Julia Selk
How many people can name a film director who is not male? Assuming that a person is reasonably educated in the subject of pop culture, their thoughts will be swimming with the names and faces of film’s famous figures. People like Wes Anderson and George Lucas and James Cameron come to mind, but of those names, none are women. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of a female whose name is as synonymous with movie making as Tarantino’s is with gore or Spielberg’s is with explosions. If your average person can’t come up with at least one female director, then the next logical question that arises is: What can be done to help them come up with one? (Preferably without having to push away the faces of numerous male directors first.)
The first step is for film festivals from around the world to face the reality that women are also fighting in the ring. If men aren’t the only ones who direct movies, then why doesn’t the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or competition acknowledge more women directors? Out of the films nominated for this award, a staggering 1,645 have been male-directed. This is jaw-dropping when compared to the measly 82 female-directed films (Chicago Tribune). Sofia Coppola, known most notably for directing “The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation,” is the second woman in 56 years walk away with the Best Director award at Cannes (Refinery29).
The next step is realizing that the gender parity monster doesn’t just dwell in French indie film festivals. It can also be spotted at a theater near you. “Wonder Woman,” a movie which according to Forbes was the “…highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time,” totaled $821.74 million at the worldwide box office. In addition to being record-breaking, it was directed by Patty Jenkins, one of just four women to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million (The Verge). Inequality can also be found in a study conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. They found that, in 2013, women only comprised “…30 percent of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing movies” (The New York Times).
The combination of a predominantly male gaze making up popular movies with the lack of female characters is one as toxic as the relationship you have with your ex. It is obvious that moviegoers want to watch films where they see themselves represented up on the big screen. And when women make up 52% of the moviegoing population, movies should cater towards them (Women and Hollywood). First off, when directors prioritize their audience, they feel important, empowered, and strong. Adding on to that, a bond between producers and audience is forged, making them more likely to come back for other movies in the franchise. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy being picked up from their seat and feeling like they are the ones who are fighting alongside their favorite superhero?
Stale stereotypes have been humored for far too long. Some might argue that putting such a large deal of time, money, and trust in women is too much to ask. But, male and female alike, to hire a director is to travel in uncharted territory. The only way to move forward is by supporting women who want to pursue film. Just as Kristen Stewart, Salma Hayek, Ava DuVernay, Jane Fonda, and Patty Jenkins took action by marching on the Cannes Film Festival, movie watchers everywhere need to boycott the gender injustice by skipping the male-led films in order to support their female-led counterparts. By researching films in advance to watching them, audiences can ensure that Miss Movie Maker is getting the recognition she deserves.
This op-ed was submitted by a writer outside of the Warrior Word staff. If you are a writer, you can email your work to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication.
Coyle, Jake. “82 Women to Walk the Red Carpet in Cannes Film Fest Protest.” Chicago Tribune, 12 May 2018, http://www.chicagotribunereprints.com/about-us/.
Dargis, Manohla. “In Hollywood, It’s a Men’s, Men’s, Men’s World.” The New York Times, 24 Dec. 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/movies/in-hollywood-its-a-mens-mens-mens-world.html.
Hughes, Mark. “’Wonder Woman’ Is Officially The Highest-Grossing Superhero Origin Film.” Forbes, 2 Nov. 2017, http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2017/11/02/wonder-woman-is-officially-the-highest-grossing-superhero-origin-film/#727ff539ebd9.
Montpelier , Rachel. “MPAA Report 2016: 52% of Movie Audiences Are Women & Other Takeaways.” Women and Hollywood, 24 Mar. 2017, womenandhollywood.com/mpaa-report-2016-52-of-movie-audiences-are-women-other-takeaways-12320da989b4/.
Nicolaou, Elena. “This Fact Will Make You View The Cannes Film Festival Differently.” Refinery29, 8 May 2018, http://www.refinery29.com/2018/05/198577/lack-of-women-representation-cannes-film-festival.
Tiffany, Kaitlyn. “Disney’s Live-Action Mulan Signs Niki Caro, the Fourth Woman to Helm a $100 Million Blockbuster.” The Verge, Vox Media, Inc., 15 Feb. 2017, http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/15/14622646/mulan-niki-caro-female-director-disney.