Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It is not exceptional to smart and strong. it's the norm.

A few years ago, I worked on a painful low-budget film. It was one of those situations where most everyone worked for free, except for the sound guy and the makeup artist (who could that be?) who were smart enough to ask for at least a token payment. it was one of those situations where everyone took several roles on the crew. Since there was no wardrobe person, I naturally fell into that role. I also did some of the scripty when the real scripty had to take off for a few days.
There was one girl (I don't even remember her name) who was sort of Production Manager and pretty much the entire Art Department. She didn't have much experience, but she did put in a lot of effort. Except....

Every time she did anything that was remotely strong or smart, she had to point it out. She would be holding a screwdriver or whatever, and make sure that EVERYBODY heard her say how she, unlike most women, knew how to use tools.

This is not feminism. This is anti-feminism, assuming that the majority of your fellow women are weak,stupid, and incompetent. True feminism is thinking it's a given that women are smart and strong and competent.

On the last film I worked on, I ended up inadvertently becoming the gaffer's best. I just jumped in a started helping. I never felt the need to point out that I was some sort of exception. One night I was helping him load out, and he told me I didn't have to. Not because I was a girl, but because I wasn't being paid to do so. I pointed out that a.) he could trust me to do do things like wrap cable correctly, and b.) he was my ride back to the crew house, so helping him load out would get me in bed more quickly.

This "I'm a woman, but I can..." is not progressive. It's misogynistic. Why don't we try "I'm a woman, so I can..."

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