It always amazes me when something that’s been around forever (whatever version of the hyperbolic ‘forever’ you want: years, decades, literal forever…) suddenly hits a perfect storm of internet and mass media presence to finally be noticed, and be noticed everywhere. It’s like when you spend your entire life never existing in a world in which there is a movie about a mall cop and then Paul Blart and Observe and Report* come out in the same year. Yeah, it’s exactly like that.
Late last year, it was the fact that women encounter daily harrassment on the street that surprise! We do not find sexy or flattering or even harmless. Before that, it was double surprise! dudes on the internet hate women. A lot. For much of the last year, there’s also been a growing recognition of Oh hey! Did you know that black communities maybe don’t feel safe and protected by their police force? None of these are new ideas. They have just been finally given their long overdue recognition.
So what’s in the spotlight now? Women in Hollywood. You may have heard that the ACLU has launched a formal investigation into industry discrimination after receiving complaints and anecdotal evidence of wrongdoing “directly from more than 50 women in the directing industry.” 50 people may not sound like a lot, if you’re thinking of them as 50 random people in the world, or even just the US, or even just Los Angeles. But the professional directing community is not exceptionally large, and from the women within that community, especially considering that for any situation of discrimination, the ratio of those who encounter it to those who speak out against it— 50 women is more than too many. The ACLU sees this as a serious issue.
We believe that the failure to hire women directors and give them a fair opportunity to succeed in the field is a civil rights issue. This is why the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the ACLU of Southern California have a campaign demanding that our government launch an investigation into the systemic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film and TV industry in violation of state and federal civil rights laws.And in an awesome interview with Pride Source (which should read in full if you want to hear Rose Byrne talking drag), Rose Byrne says she agrees that this goes beyond an “Oh, doesn’t that suck for everyone?” issue to actual illegal discrimination.
The statistics are still so dreadful for women in film. Now the ACLU is doing an investigation into it because they’re starting to realize it’s actually discrimination - it’s not just good ol’ fashioned misogyny that everyone’s quietly tolerated for years. The business is sort of the wrong way in the sense that the statistics are just really dreadful for women in terms of speaking parts and paychecks for women. All that stuff that was leaked through the Internet when Sony was hacked - it all speaks for itself. So, it is beyond just misogyny. It’s legitimate discrimination based on gender, which is illegal. Any discrimination is, whether it’s sexuality, race or gender.Fuck yeah, Rose Byrne. No more skating around the issue. Call ‘em like you see ‘em, cause what I see is straight up bullshit.
*Vivian Kane actually and for real had to Google “What is the other mall cop movie called?” Sorry, Observe and Report.