There's no business like show business. Unless, of course, you're a woman; and then it's just like every other business in the world: seriously fucked. I thought Hollywood was supposed to be a liberal progressive bastion, a place that embraces our differences and broadcasts them to the world in one big fucking kumbaya of love?? Wait, that's only if you're an "attractive" white man!? Are you telling me that my dreams of some egalitarian utopia — where Asian men are regularly cast as things other than math majors or ninjas (or math major ninjas!), where Lara Flynn Boyle is encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, and where Kevin James doesn't exist — is but a hallucination, most likely brought on by eating too many chocolate covered shoes!? ACK!
Well then, let's fucking burn it to the ground and start over again because THIS SHIT IS NOT RIGHT.
This time, the injustice strikes with directors unfortunate enough to be born with vaginas where their penises should be. Our heroine is Barbara Stepansky, director of Fugue, Hurt, and Girls!, Girls!, Girls!. She has a male acquaintance who won a Student Emmy for a film and was immediately scouted to direct an episode of a prime-time television drama on Fox. Great, terrific, fabulous news! But here's the problem, Stepansky had previously won the same award and had a very different experience.
A few years ago I won the same exact award for my own thesis film, the Student Emmy for best drama and directing. I was there, I have pictures to prove it. And an equally amazing producer/director of an equally popular prime-time television drama on Fox (alas, a different one) presented my award to me. He was equally impressed with my thesis film, which had garnered the two top awards of the night. He also graciously invited me to come and visit the set of the show he was producing. I was allowed to shadow the episode he was directing for a day. During that visit, I asked about the opportunity to direct.
"Here's the thing," he said. "The lead actor hates female directors. We only had one in the first season, and she was never invited back. He just doesn't like them."
Wow, that's pretty balls out! That's like, "Sorry sh-weetheart, we had to give the account to a man, we just can't have you walking around here with that temptress vagina." Er... okay? So, not only is there the inherent bias, but there's also a good dose of in-your-face misogyny. Fuck you, Bret Easton Ellis. We know one of the reasons there are so few prominent female directors is because there are so few prominent female directors, and so on and so forth, but this lack of representation is manifesting itself in uglier and uglier ways. We are moving backwards through time, ladies, pretty soon we'll all just be donning floral aprons and cooking casseroles for our 2.5 kids. I don't care if those kids are imaginary, or if one of them is literally cut in half and bleeding to death, you'll put on that floral apron and you'll bake that fucking casserole!
The end of Stepansky's story is just about heartbreaking:
I've directed two independent feature films, music videos, commercials, dozens of shorts and two webseries. I'd like to believe that your work should speak for itself. If you're just good enough and you work hard at it, you will get your chance. And now I'm just not so sure of that anymore.
RAGE!!! Ladies, all I know is that we have to drop what we are doing right now and become famous female directors. Is there any other choice? Because I don't see one. I don't care that my student films were called, "basically unwatchable," and "masturbatory crap," I am still making the commitment to get out my camera (phone) and start filming (my dogs humping) tonight. Let's go.
Banging My Head Against The Hollywood Glass Ceiling [Women Directors in Hollywood]
Image via Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock.