It’s the time of year to be thankful for what we have. Despite the fact that tomorrow we’ll be counting our blessings, there will still be so many things out there that we take for granted. As a woman, I may still not really be able to claim true equality, but I certainly enjoy far more freedom than the majority of women throughout the world.
Artists working in various mediums are often the voices advocating for social change and exploring the shortcomings of society. Film has often been a vehicle to explore a groups’s suffering or discontent and explore its implications for humanity as a whole or impacts on portions of a society. Women’s voices, and the voices of other minority groups, have had to struggle to be heard and to be accurately represented in the visual media, as in so many other places.
Still, there are a lot of women building careers in the film industry and, as they do, they improve the depictions of women and voice concerns relevant to women. Angeline Jolie has been a big name in Hollywood for a long time, but has recently stepped into the director’s chair. Her current work, such as 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey which explored the struggles of women in Bosnia, might open the door for other female directors, but it also advocates for social awareness. There are also an increasing number of actresses that take on action roles, such as Scarlett Johansson, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Uma Thurman to name a few. There are also actresses like Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz who have made careers tackling complicated roles and playing strong female leads.
There is a lot of hope for women to gain greater respect in the film industry and thereby create work that could potentially better the lives of women worldwide. I am grateful, despite the under representation of women, that we do have a voice in film and other media. We can tell our stories and people do listen. Not only that, I can go out in public in relative safety and watch a movie. I don’t need an escort or permission. No one will censor what I watch. I can form an opinion and share it. This Thanksgiving, in addition to being grateful for my food, friends and family, I’ll also be thankful for the stories I have the freedom to share.