As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been getting back into cinema recently. I tend to go through phases with film. We used to have a Cineworld card, but we moved a year ago. There’s an Odeon nearby, but there’s not enough films out that I want to see. In addition to that, Summer becomes a time for marathoning television shows. October is normally the time I get back into cinema as we try do an annual horror marathon (you can see last year’s here.)
However, I’ve made an early return to it this year for a number of reasons. 1) I’m needing more time out and film works as a great escape, 2) Iain has Amazon Prime!, 3) I want to watch more films by women.
Women In Film is a non-profit organisation who are dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women. Their main objective is to ‘see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen‘. They encourage creative projects by women and also provide things like scholarships and grants for women to finish their films. They also run a ton of educational programs too and want to preserve the legacies of all women who work in this industry.
In addition to all this, they also started a campaign called ‘52 Films By Women‘. It’s a simple pledge and a fun one too. The idea is that you pledge to watch 52 films by women a year, that’s one a week. I was horrified to see how quickly I gave up on this when I logged back into Letterboxd, which is why I’m starting again.
Here’s 4 reasons you should pledge today.
You’re showing a demand for films by women
Gender segregation is a huge issue in Hollywood. Did you know that the first female filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Directing was in 2010? This is appalling considering how long cinema has been around and how long women have been directing movies for. We’ve also seen a rise in actresses speaking up about the gender pay gap as well.
There’s a pattern of men dominating the field behind the scenes too. I’m somebody who has personally experienced this firsthand. I used to work in the film and television industry myself. I worked as a production assistant/runner, but wanted to get into camera operating and directing. Roles were far and few between, I gave up because I struggled to find consistent work. Most of the sets I worked on were male-dominated, the only women present were producers or make-up artists.
— #WonderGal (@amazonheroicon) 9 August 2017
I think with the rise of more famous women speaking out on this issue, more people are aware of it. If we seek out more films by women, we are ultimately showing a demand and proving to people that there needs to be more.
You’ll uncover a whole range of amazing directors you didn’t know existed
The best thing about actively seeking out films you might have missed or may not have even been able to see in the cinema is finding new female directors. There’s a ton of them! They’re just not represented fairly or spoken about enough. Granted there’s a few that have been nominated and won awards, but they’re mostly white women.
You’ll most likely find a ton of films you relate to more
There’s a reason people are so happy about Wonder Woman doing well or the fact the new Doctor Who is going to be a woman. Representation matters. I want to see more women tell their stories. Stories where women aren’t just sexualised, films that contain the male gaze for a change, stories were women are more than their trauma, stories with less one dimensional characters. I want to see realer depictions of women. They don’t always have to be likeable, somebody’s object of affection, or killed off and so on.
As a white woman, I’m represented enough. I want to see more disabled women, more women of colour, more non binary and trans women, and more LGBT women represented onscreen in a positive way. I’m tired of unfunny transphobic jokes, disabled women being used as inspiration porn, sex workers being killed off (looking at you, Rough Night) and LGBT women being used as a punchline.
By watching more films by women you’ll find stories from people who actually know how to write for women.
You can find out about and support more women of colour
Following on from the above point, there are a ton of amazing BAME directors out there too. Again, I think the problem is lack of representation. By doing this pledge, I want to make a point of watching more films by non-white women. Diversity is important and again it’s something we need to show a demand for.
It works, just look at the box office figures for Girl’s Trip.
Although I’m not watching a film a week (I can try do that next year), I’m making an effort to watch more films directed by women.
Want to join in? Please do! I’m going to be bringing you the highlights each month.
For now, here are some of my favourites to get you started:
- A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
- Whip It
- American Mary
- Electrick Children
- The Invitation
- Welcome To Me
You can also follow my progress here too!