Reading women's scripts again: Time to celebrate women-loving women?

While I finished my thesis I didn't do much else for a few months. 404 unopened emails in one account, 791 in the other.

And then I was done. And I discovered a short&sharp tweet from MadamaAmbi, sent back in June, in response to my Reading Women's Scripts post: "@devt internalized misogyny?"

Then a comment I treasure, also in response to Reading Women's Scripts, from lisa gornick, the filmmaker whose film drawing site I love. Here's her latest drawing, girl at six:


Lisa wrote:
this is such hard but vital reading. it's like hearing your own mother be mean about you or something like that. it's so sad too. this is a great thing to air, to debate and for everyone not to be scared of discussing. there is probably some deep seated female self hating going on that causes all this to happen in an aggressive macho world of filmmaking and that with some quiet exploration and revelation we could unpick this and a new era of filmmaking could be born. 

greetings and connection from london
A couple of days later, while I was still thinking about this, I read an article in the Guardian, by Bidisha, The Subtle Art of Misogyny. Here she is:


“We too easily over-value work by male artists and under-value that of women,” she writes. “We must wake up to our anti-women society.” (She talks more about misogyny in an interview about her selection of five feminist books. )

Among the 850 or so comments that follow The Subtle Art of Misogyny, there’s a little thread about women’s own internalized biases/misogyny. JuliaBTS says,
"I am a feminist, believe fervently in equality yet still I confess I recently realised that I too habitually give more credibility to men than to women and assume men have more authority—unless there is a disparity so large that it can't be overlooked." Others question whether this is a generational issue. Perhaps younger women, born after feminism was ‘normalised’, or brought up in an environment with strong women about and/or men as mentors, will recognize sexism and misogyny, and experience both, but themselves be free of internalized biases and misogyny.

After all this, I found myself remembering and thinking about a term I haven’t heard for a long time: women-loving women. We can identify misogyny and sexism in the film industry, pay attention to whether we have internalized it, and celebrate individual women filmmakers’ successes. But could we also focus on individual and group actions that embody the women-loving women idea? And if we do, might that inspire the ‘new era of filmmaking’ lisa gornick’s hoping for?

Jane Campion and Meryl Streep are women-loving women, staunch and outspoken about the ‘problem’ even though they don’t need to be.

Here's a thumbnail of Jane Campion, accompanying yesterday's Channel 4 interview about Bright Star.



And a thumbnail of Meryl Streep, and this link to a Charlie Rose interview of her, with Nora Ephron, the writer/director of Julie & Julia (also—in bits—on YouTube).



Melissa Silverstein’s Women & Hollywood blog is truly women-loving action. What a commitment, to keep us informed every single weekday. Here she is:


You can also see Melissa here, and listen to her talking about the statistics that show that women directed only 9% of the 250 top-grossing US films in 2008.

Then there’s Julie Christie.

I last saw Julie Christie in Away From Her, as a woman with Alzheimer’s—a courageous and beautiful performance that seems consistent with B. Ruby Rich’s portrayal of her in Chick Flicks, a book I return to again and again.

B. Ruby Rich says that for a long time Julie Christie “wouldn’t accept any role that failed to meet her moral and political standards for representing women’s lives on film…Christie is that rarest of beasts: a woman’s woman as well as a man’s woman.” Where are the other women-loving women like her in the industry? What are they doing? What can I learn from them?

And, who are the women-loving women who read women’s scripts, who develop them, who direct and produce them, who deliver and market them? Can you think of any? I'd like to name them, because I think they represent hope, for women filmmakers and for women as audiences.

Comments

  1. Hey Marian: Thanks for the comment on my blog! Join the There She Goes Facebook group if you're on the site: we're going to try and gather and share lots of news and ideas about women's cinema and visual media there. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=165387795339

    I love this post, and the idea of women-loving women: it is a lost phrase in the clamour of teen lesbian posing and career women clambering to the top of the studio system. Did you see a film called Dear Lemon Lima,? directed by Suzi Yoonessi: it's all about collaboration and alternative communities.

    As for Julie Christie, look out for her film with Sally Potter, The Gold Diggers, on DVD this Xmas for the first time ever! (from the BFI here in London).

    Great to meet you (virtually ;)

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