By Maria Giese
The first thing I did this morning was put a call in to Hillary Clinton. I had to get the truth about something really shocking…
Hillary: politician, diplomat, New York Senator, 67th U.S. Secretary of State, First Lady. And she attended my alma mater—Wellesley College, a few decades before me. I love and admire Hillary Rodham Clinton. I think she is the best living role model for women and girls in our nation today. As one of America’s few women feature film directors, I had often contemplated directing a film about her early career.
Close your eyes. Imagine…
FADE UP: Brilliant, smoking hot, super-lawyer, Hillary Rodham, fresh out of Yale, at the crossroads of her life. Should she head to Washington DC to take her place in history as America’s first woman president? Or stay in Little Rock, Arkansas, and marry a cute (very), small town lawyer, soon to take her inevitable place in history as America’s first woman president?
A sure-fire box office hit. So, you can imagine how I felt yesterday when I found out that some MALE director, with a grin like a Cheshire cat (okay, a really good director), had nabbed the script “Rodham” from the “Black List,” Hollywood’s vault of best, unproduced screenplays– this one penned by Young-Il Kim.
C’mon! A man should NOT direct the first biopic about Hillary Clinton!
And worse, the producers of the film, Wick Godfrey and Mary Bowen, make up the team so famous for firing Catherine Hardwicke after her visionary helming of “Twilight” had turned a schlocky vampire book into a billion dollar global media franchise. They also produce “Revenge,” an episodic TV show about a women seeking– well, revenge. How many women directors have they hired? Out of a total of 44 episodes: just five episodes by women directors!
Then, Isaac Klausner is overseeing the project for Temple Hill. Klausner is the associate producer on the Twilight films. These boys must feel very proud of their success with female-driven content, directed almost exclusively by men. Okay, look. You can yell at me for naming names if you want, but we women directors have had it.
And Hillary needs to tell us if she’s okay with this.
In seven years, we American women will celebrate 100 years of VERY HARD WON suffrage. We make up 51% of the population. We control 2 trillion dollars of American purchasing power and 85% of household purchases.
And even though we women grow up being told by EVERYONE that we can do anything we want– even become the president of the United States… Even though we enter our nation’s film schools at a 50-50 ratio with men, and graduate 50-50 with them…
…we step through the gates of Hollywood and walk onto a playing field that is at an almost vertical male-dominated TILT against women.
Nearly all of American media is directed by men: that’s over 95% of features and over 85% of episodic TV shows. It might sound like simple discrimination, but it’s more than that. It’s tantamount to censorship– the silencing of the voices of over half the population of our country.
This silencing of women in media is not only patently unfair, it’s illegal. The U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, protects equal employment opportunity for all Americans. American studios and networks are breaking the law– and they have been for decades.
The American entertainment industry– which produces our nation’s most influential global export– media– is sending a powerful message to women and girls around the globe: that equality for women is not important to Americans.
Hillary! HILLARY! Is that what you want to do? We American women directors are waiting for your call back.