I’m working toward creating a female-centric theatre company, so I was intrigued by Alison Willmore’s article, “Why I’ve Had Trouble Buying Hollywood’s Version of Girl Power.” There has been an obvious increase in female-centric work in the last few years, but much of it is as Willmore, says, a “quick sugar rush of righteous outrage over vintage sexism.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing — it’s encouraging and fun, and it’s great that movies about RBG and Oceans 8 were box office hits. But hey, they were also not great films, and it’s ok to not like them. (I’m reminded of the argument to vote for Hilary because she’s the best candidate, not because she’s a woman.)
So my question is, how do we celebrate progress while acknowledging that we’re still falling short? The fact that more female-centric films are being made is a positive, and they’re generally fine. So while I want to celebrate the fact that they’re made at all, I also don’t want to give the impression that we’ve achieved the goal. I want to see predominantly female casts so frequently that it’s not a selling point of uniqueness. I want an industry where we don’t have to specify that something is female-centric because that’s not an exceptional event.
And to do that, I think we need more stories. Real stories. Like Willmore says, “what I find myself craving more and more is discomfort — depictions of how messy and complicated and difficult it is to be a woman or a girl in this world.” The “girl power” pins are nice, but real stories are better.