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Every year I look forward to the Award Season – not just because of the results and the films it brings into everyone’s attention and the beautiful fashion moments (oh, I’m a sucker for those!). But also because more often than not, the speeches of the awardees inspire me. The whole evening inspires me. It reminds me why I love the film industry so much and if I find myself losing hope or determination to carry on pursuing my dreams, it’s moments like the Golden Globes Ceremony that remind me why I wanted to make it in this industry in the first place.
Now, I know this sounds perhaps a little odd these days given the not exactly flattering things you get to hear about it lately… Sexual harassment, unequal pays, race discrimination… all that is part of it, and it’s the sad truth (but just about the same everywhere, I’m afraid).
But nevertheless, it’s an industry that has great power and a loud voice. And that’s one very important asset. It has an enormous power to inspire. To put a change into motion. Because it gives voice to those who can’t be heard. Through the stories the films say and through the powerful speeches the stars make. And everything in between.
There’s a lot wrong with the film industry, sure. As is with the world. But either we want it or not, it’s the one industry that’s loudest and can influence us the most. It can set change into motion. And the time has come for a change at last.
Because the time is up.
Luckily for me, during my years working within the film industry so far, I have never experienced any kind of sexual harassment – thank god – but one thing is for sure, women have it SO hard in this industry. It really is an industry controlled by men and if you’re a woman, you’re simply not being taken seriously.
If you’re a film critic, you’re not taken seriously even if you studied the same school as the men did – or even if they don’t have any diploma at all!, simply because you’re just a woman.. And women are just good enough to review romantic comedies, right?
I remember one of my teachers back at Uni complaining how she’s always being given only romantic films to review while working for a film magazine, despite having her degrees and teaching film.
We are told to be too emotional. But honestly, what is wrong with having actual feelings? Perhaps it’s better than constantly thinking of how to rule the world.. Just saying.
I remember the surprise when I presented my final thesis theme to my male teachers at the Uni – I have picked The Dark Knight. Yes, this Christopher Nolan movie, which as I’ve once been told by a guy, is a movie full of testosterone and therefore not for girls. We just can’t get it.
I remember girls like me working in the film industry coming up to me and telling me how lucky I was to work in the Program Department of a film festival, cause every other festival is controlled by men – at the positions where there’s any say when it comes to films, that is – and that what we have is something really unique.
I remember coming to the film set for the first time, feeling like a piece of meat – even if I was surprised to see quite a few girls working as ADs, men still outnumbered them and I felt like somebody was checking me out constantly, or worse was having inappropriate comments.
And while switching between different departments on set, I realized as a female set PA I’m pretty much considered to not have a brain. And that applies especially if you’re pretty.
Yes, pretty girls have it even harder in this industry – unless you’re an aspiring actress. Then it’s of course desirable to be pretty! But that still doesn’t mean you’re gonna be taken seriously.. Cause after all, you can only be pretty and act. (yep, ask my actress friend!).
So yeah, film industry is VERY unequal environment for women. And I’m so proud of all that is going on there right now. So proud of the ‘women uprising’. And so proud of all the men who support it. Those are true men. Men who know our value. Men who are not afraid because there’s no reason, if you play fair, right?
Look at all those amazing women who give us voice, or lead an example. Look at Reese Witherspoon for example. Yes, the former Legally Blonde. She’s been told for years (by men) that stories that interested her would not find an audience because they were women centered. So guess what? She went and started her own production company and started to produce the kind of films she’d like to see. And guess what? They were some of the most successful films! Little Big Lies being just the latest achievement.
And I love that. I love women who won’t take no for an answer. I love women proving men wrong.
And yes, Reese is one my biggest inspirations these days.
I love women standing up for themselves. I love women for fighting for equality. I love women who are fearless and not intimidated by men.
We ARE powerful. We just need to unite and then, honestly, we can conquer the world!
No more race or gender discrimination please! We’re living in a year 2018. How come we’re still even discussing it?!
We do the same work, we want the same money, the same recognition.
We want to direct and produce movies and be taken seriously.
We want our opinions to be heard and not be labeled as ‘women’s opinnions’ as if they were something less.
And we want to be treated right. We are not toys, nor any kind of trophies or pretty things you can just take as you please. (Where the hell did you ever get that idea anyway?!)
We’ve been silent for far too long. And there’s nothing that fills me with more pride than to see women stand up tall and proud. And speak the truth. Fearless. Fearless of the men.
Women like Reese, Nicole, Meryl, Gal and so so many others.
And then there’s Oprah. Probably the greatest woman there’s ever been. And if you ask me, I’m with her.
And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.
For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up.