Feb 24, 2006

Girls on Film

Today a friend sent me a petition to sign in which I'm supposed to ask Hollywood to include more women in their movies, their stories, etc. Boy, I've been hearing this complaint for as long as I can remember and what has been done about it? Charlize Theron uglifies herself in Monster and becomes a coal miner in North Country. I think that what the petition is really saying is that women want to see stories not only about gorgeous, subtly surgically enhanced women in their twenties, but also about more mature women, and women who don't look like inflatable dolls or kabuki masks or who have so much collagen on their lips they are starting to look like Amanda Lepore. But something about the "sisterhood" nature of the petition bothered me. Yes, I agree there should be more women directors, screenwriters and better roles for women of all ages, as long as that doesn't translate to chick flix or new agey sisterhood stuff, which I can't abide. I hate the notion of stories for women. If a story is good, it doesn't matter if it is about a woman or written by a woman or a man. I don't think there should be special genres for women. They are a disservice to our gender, because they tend to be formulaic. Every time Hollywood comes up with their notion of what a film for women is like, we get inane "romantic" clunkers with Diane Lane about dogs and/or Florence, both of which I'm not in love with.
Fargo, a movie that has one of the best female roles ever, was written by the Coen Brothers. In The 40 Year-Old Virgin, the best romantic comedy in a long time, the woman who plays the romantic interest is the interesting, older, more normal looking Catherine Keener. The movie was written and directed by a guy. I love the idea of more women directors, more women screenwriters, better roles for women. I just don't like the idea of petitioning for it, as if Hollywood needs to fill a politically correct quota. Hopefully, they will pay attention to good stories or concepts or movies directed by women, because of their merit and skill, not because it is pc to do it.
Still, this organization for women in the arts has a very useful list of organizations which provide grants for women artists in a broad range of disciplines. That should be more helpful.

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