Jillian’s Feminist Forum: Sexism behind the camera


Jillian Leiby , JagWire opinions editor

On Sunday at the Golden Globes, Ava Duvernay did not win best director for her film, “Selma,” but her nomination, sadly, seems to be enough. She is the first black woman to be nominated for the award ever, and when she will hopefully be nominated for an Oscar, she will once again be first black woman to be nominated for the directing category. And that is only if she is nominated.

In 2009, Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar for best director for “The Hurt Locker.” No woman has even been nominated since. Only two female directors were in the awards race this year: Duvernay and Angelina Jolie for “Unbroken.” And Jolie’s chances of a nomination seem dead on arrival.

The fact is only 17 percent of the people behind this year camera were women. That includes directors, writers, producers, editors, executive producers and cinematographers on the 250 top-grossing movies in 2014. This is the same percentage seen in 1998. There hasn’t been an improvement in 16 years. That is incredibly disheartening.

Surprisingly, I don’t know enough about the industry to find who is at fault. It could be the male executive that won’t finance a female-lead movie. It could also be the lack of motivation in women to become a figure behind the camera.

The key here is not to lose hope. If a woman is reading this and suddenly doesn’t want to be a director or writer, then that is the troubling thing. If women aren’t getting opportunities to be behind the camera, then we have to make opportunities for ourselves.

If you want to be a director, buy a camera and tape your friends. If you want to be a writer, write something, even if it is a sentence. It may seem cliche for me to ask you to never give up, but it seems almost imperative now, more than ever, that you don’t. The future of women in film depends on it.

Feminist Moment of the Week: The Golden Globes weren’t a total wash. Gina Rodriguez won for best actress in television series, comedy or musical for a show with great female and Hispanic representation. Also, Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a fantastic speech after winning best actress in a miniseries or TV movie for the incredible miniseries ”The Honorable Woman” (on Netflix now) which pretty much sums up my feeling on women in television and film this year.

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