Kathryn Bigelow Aside, Only 9% of Top-Grossing Films Are Directed By Women

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English: Kathryn Bigelow arrives at the 82nd A...

English: Kathryn Bigelow arrives at the 82nd Academy Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to thank Kathryn Bigelow my director.  I can’t help but compare my character of Maya to you, two powerful fearless women that allows their expert work to stand before them.  You’ve said that filmmaking for you is not about breaking gender roles but when you make a film that allows your character to disobey the conventions of Hollywood, you’ve done more for women in cinema than you take credit for.

This was the quote that Jessica Chastain gave in her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress at the Golden Globes Award. When she stated that her director had done more for women (as a whole) in the portrayal of strong female characters for being capable, it was a great moment.

I have since written an article where you can access here:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/24212/kathryn-bigelow-aside-only-9-of-top-grossing-films-are-directed-by-women

Despite the success of female Hollywood directors such as Kathryn Bigelow make up only 9% of the top-grossing box office films as compared to the ~40% of documentaries.  This statistic remains unchanged since 1998. Furthermore, what makes this statistic more bleak, was the recent studies in this matter: one, was generated by Sundance Film Institute and Women in Film (WIF) Initiative, while the second was the Celluloid Ceiling which gave an in depth look at where women are employed in the film industry.

The responses that I’ve received thus far (all from men) who don’t get what the gendered-entrenched barriers are such a big deal. I get the feeling that they’ve just glossed over the challenges that are unique in this industry. Particularly when we’re talking about securing funding or financing one’s film. When a considerable segment of the opposite gender looks down on women for the mere fact that they are asking for funds, it just makes you wonder if progress is ever possible. While there may be no easy solution to this problem, I advocated for networking and funding (grants/scholarships) for women. This, I think addresses some of the issues that are major challenges to women.

Is Social Progress just an extension of d.i.y.?

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Millenials are often viewed as foolish and spoiled for their desire to improve society with their overly ambitious plans and in return, expectations of unearned rewards are sentiments shared by the traditional stewards of society.  A by-gone world where tradition and conventional rules were religiously followed, now seems to be a fleeting memory.  While technology has certainly been one key factor responsible for the change, the desire to make our lives better is something shared by a diverse class of society.

Although it is true that young people are no longer willing to stay with the same employer (as their parents once did), they want to leave a part of themselves, an imprint that, they did once exist on this world. For this reason, many technology start-ups are founded by young people.  This is the case for the news blog, Policymic that I contribute to.  It is a part of the d.i.y (do it yourself) culture.  As such, they are willing to take risks to the extent that their passions spill into many facets of their life. It is about creating a meaningful life, rather than just living in it.  Rather than abiding by the old rules where it is not open to change– postmodernism issues such as feminism, environment and community then became key issues involving the young and old, men and women and creates a socially diverse movement.

As nations become more prosperous, these issues emerge as critically important to which conservatives and liberals disagree.  Revolutions and counter movements become the norm to which these ideas are expressed. With the ease with which events are shared on social media, we become closer despite the physical boundaries that separate us.

One aspect that citizens of emerging nations are grappling is the speed with which rapid technological change has managed to introduce external influences.  Looking towards China, during the past thirty years in which its young people were protesting for freedom and democracy while its nation was experiencing major economic changes, if social media was as prevalent back then as it is now, I’m not sure that China would still have remained the world’s second largest economy.

Despite all this, people are willing to risk their life to protest against injustices and in the process, refuse to be victimized.  Such is the case during the various Occupy movements and especially in India with the mass protest of gang-rapes.  In Greece, since the austerity measures have been implemented, protests have taken place to demonstrate against the political establishment who are seen as responsible for bringing the country to an economic halt.

The conventional rules that once dictated how a society functions have been re-created to include the voice of the people.  Even if the desired result is not achieved, by rising up and risking to alter the system, they’ve already made their mark on history.

The Luxury of Being Yourself

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Having come across the horrific events of the sad and all too uncommon occurrences of gang-rape in India, I was moved to write an article about it. Watching the events unfold as revealed by Indian media and television, it just became really personal.  Not because I had ever experienced anything like that. But the fact that, this was a common everyday affair had haunted me.

While walking in midtown yesterday, I came across a slogan “the luxury of being yourself”. I looked and this was the advertising slogan for a hotel chain. How appropriate, I thought. Hyphen Magazine did a write up on this, September 2011. It made me question the fairness, that one entire gender has to cover up and literally, cannot be themselves because of the fear that they may not live to see another day? Part of this, is due to the unbalanced male-female ratio.

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Growing up, I had a pretty carefree childhood. As all children do, recreational activities such as climbing trees, or playing freezer tag and cops-and-robbers with friends were literally games in which you pretended to be someone else. You were afforded the opportunity to assume a different character. But I think this event taught me that girls, in some societies aren’t able to express themselves fully.  Seems really unfair.