Welome back to The Gal-lery, where DG spotlights women from the expansive and far-reaching fields of art and design.
What does the name Mary Pickford bring to mind? The doe-eyed ingénue of the silent film era, with girlishly-curled locks, and who wore those darling ruffled babydoll dresses? Yes, Ms. Pickford did capitalize on her youthful charms, but she was so much more than a sweet face of the early cinematic world— keep on reading to discover more about the astute woman behind the it-girl face!
When it comes to the film industry, there should be a sign on the wall saying “you don’t have to be a man to work here, but it helps.” Because whilst it’s not impossible to be a world-renown, highly in-demand film goddess on-screen, it can get seriously tough for those of us behind the lens. Even actresses can get a bum deal in the pay department, and there have long been issues with the type and quality of female roles, especially for older actresses. But these grievances are just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the past year there have been lots of things written in the press about the lack of women in the top roles in the industry; and even worse those few female producers and directors that do make are less well known. It seems that getting your foot in the door and getting noticed are even harder if you happen to be of the female persuasion. With that oppressive cloud over our heads it’s not surprising that the Oscar nominations can serve as one long, grim, reminder of the mountain we’ve yet to climb to reach gender equality.
As you might remember, I reviewed a little movie called Jem and the Holograms. My rating, like many other critics, was pretty low. This was a truly, truly outrageous disaster. And Universal’s nightmares have come true, as Jem has been dubbed one of the worst financial bombs in movie history. How did this exactly happen and what might this mean for the industry at large? Let’s examine the facts.
Back in 2003, a film adaptation of the classic children’s fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was released in theaters. Upon my first of many viewings, I became suddenly enchanted with a luscious, tall, lanky, mysterious creature who inhabited the role of said witch. The being possessed eyes that were piercing like Medusa’s, a voice that was frightening and charming in every way, and a confidence that was hard to match. From then on, I would come to learn the name of this individual, and it would haunt my film nerd dreams for what seems like an eternity. Who could this be? Tilda Swinton, of course.
Let’s face it, everyone knows the film industry has a long way to go when it comes to treating women as equals. It remains a fact that for roughly every fifteen male directors there is just one female director, only 30.8% of speaking roles go to women, and the majority of major motions pictures seem to be marketed to men. Not only that, but women seldom get the roles that their male counterparts are offered, and are generally expected to wear revealing clothing or appear partially naked with far greater frequency than male actors (28.8% of the time compared to 7% for men). Still, despite this, 2014 was a pretty good year to be a woman in the movie industry, or just a woman who wants to watch movies.