This is fresh off my viewing of “Miss Representation”, a wonderful documentary about women in the media, both onscreen and off. It’s horribly heartbreaking to be reminded how women are affected by the media from such a young age and how there are so few women in the media controlling the content viewed by women.
So here I am, throwing my hat into the ring to talk about what I feel about it. First things first:
Fuck you to every man who wants to put me in my place by criticising what I look like or the fact that I will have PMS. (Fun fact: Thanks to seasonal birth control, I only get this once every three months. Thanks to the media, I have depression.)
Fuck you if you’re choosing a man over me because they’re more relatable to you. Clearly, you’ve never taken the time to know me. I’m a goddamn social chameleon. I can connect with any single person I want to. KEY WORDS: want to. If you dick me around, I am not giving you the light of day. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been pushed aside too many times for being a woman.
Fuck you if you’re passing me over because I’m not stupid and won’t play stupid. Here’s an example: in my freshman year of college, I was too chicken shit to audition for the improv team at Iowa. Instead, I joined the club that was open to anyone who wanted to do improv. I had about a year and a half of classes under my belt and felt that I was pretty good. Myself and a friend, I’ll call him Gary, went to the club. We were thrilled. Both being freshmen with a love of improv, we were pumped. We both did well in the club, performing great scenes with the current members. However, after class, Gary was asked to join their improv group: a group comprised of 6 boys and 1 girl. (Another fun fact: Every improv group has that ‘token girl’, even Monty Python.) I was furious. As hard as I tried to show that I was just as funny and talented as they were, I was ignored. It wasn’t just me, either. There were several other girls in the club who were ignored because they weren’t pretty or a boy.
And before you think it, I know it was because I was a girl. I know that I am great at improv. I am just as good as the boys. They didn’t give me the fucking time of day because I wasn’t wearing low-cut shirts and making my characters ditzy and subservient to their male egos. In improv, you’re told to play to the height of your intelligence for a character. I will play to the height of my personal intelligence and tell you to fuck off if you try to make me less than you.
There’s this thinking out there that women aren’t funny. It’s a goddamn lie. Tina Fey. Amy Poehler. Melissa McCarthy. Jane Lynch. Lucille Ball. Ellen DeGeneres. Portia de Rossi. Martha Plimpton. Kristin Wiig. Edie Falco. Honestly, I could just make this whole post into a list of fucking hilarious women and still not be done. There are so many talented women in the media and the arts who are so much better than most men in the media.
According to the documentary, the amount of female directors, writers, producers, and executives in the media is 16%. Critics and movie-goers complain that films and TV shows are all using the same premises and plots. Moral of the story: we need more women in the media industry. We need new ideas in the media. I’m sick and tired of watching shows with the same fucking premise: strong male lead, sexy and provocative female lead.
I’ll let you in on a project I’ve been working on. I’m currently writing a pilot about a female butcher who kills and sells human meat in her shop. She’s married to a wonderful woman and they have a 15 year old daughter. Her mother killed her husband and started the cannibalistic business. There will be no lesbian sex scenes. There will be no scantily clad women. These woman will not be objectified in the series.
This show will never get picked up, because according to “schmrofessionals”, it’s not what “sells”.
I don’t give a shit of “what sells”. You know what sells? Stories that are different. They always talk about the shows that are legacies in television and let me tell you: they’re not all about sex. They’re legacies because they changed the face of television.
I want to change the face of television.
Near the end of the documentary, they showed a group of women who were participating in something similar to speed dating, but it was “speed mentoring”. Young women professionals met with older women professionals to talk about how to succeed in business. One mentor said to follow what makes your heart go pitter-patter and don’t be afraid to go after it.
When she said that, I thought of what makes my heart go pitter-patter: being a head writer and executive producer on a hit show that I’ve created. I want that. I want to be a powerful player in the media. I want to affect what viewers see. Rupert Murdoch: I’m a woman and I want your job.
I’m not going to sit idly by. I want to change what viewers see and make television and film accessible to all. I want to stop this fucking awful patriarchy going on in the media. I want to inspire young girls and let them know that they too can say fuck you to the patriarchy surrounding the media. We don’t need this shit.
If you want to know more about “Miss Representation” and support the women’s media movement, visit missrepresentation.org.