In this week’s Wednesday 5: Filmmaker Paige Morrow Kimball talks about sexism in the Hollywood; a new documentary on Angela Davis documents the woman behind the activism; Margaret Thatcher’s notable “badass” moments; the loneliness of being the “boss-lady”; and a photographer captures the toys that make us happy.
Paige Morrow Kimball: “How Can There Be Room for Me?”
One of our favorite women behind the camera, Paige Morrow Kimball, director of Ending Up, a film for and about women over 40 who are starting over, recently wrote about the importance of finding a mentor (at any age) and supporting other women. She recently attended the 2013 Directors Guild of America (DGA) Women of Action Summit in Los Angeles. There, women in all fields of the film industry talked candidly (and sometimes heatedly) about the sexism they’ve encountered in Hollywood. After overhearing a well-known film director lament her unsuccessful quest to get into directing television, Paige writes that she felt equally inspired by and discouraged at the possibilities for women:
I was inspired by the abundance of creative ideas for ways to expand our opportunities. And I felt discouraged because there were so many powerful, successful women present—much more powerful and successful than I am—and they were having a hard time getting hired. With these women competing for the same jobs, how can there be room for me?
So, what will Paige do? Exactly what she’s already been doing: “Continue making films by, for and about women, and personally try to hire as many women as possible. (On Ending Up, all the key positions were filled by women except for one.)”
Read more about Paige’s film Ending Up at paigemorrowkimball.com
Angela Davis: The Life of an Activist
When we think of the 70-year-old activist Angela Davis, we think of someone who, despite the controversy surrounding her life, has consistently and tirelessly “emphasized the importance of building awareness for economic, racial and gender justice.” More than 40 years after she was acquitted of charges surrounding the 1970 murder of Judge Harold Haley in California comes a documentary by Shola Lynch, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, about the events related to the trial and Davis’s subsequent life as a branded “fugitive.”
Documenting the lives of women of color who have made a difference in our nation’s politics is nothing new to Lynch. She also directed the 2004 documentary on Shirley Chisholm (Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed), the first African American woman elected to Congress (this was in 1968).
“Free Angela And All Political Prisoners” Trailer
In the last few days, much has been said and written about Margaret Thatcher, whose controversial reign as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 has left many conflicted about how to view her legacy. Despite one’s personal feelings on how she wielded power, there is no denying that the woman was a force to be reckoned with. The folks over at BuzzFeed, in fact, have called Thatcher a “badass” and have created a list of some of more notable “badass” moments. In doing so, we’re reminded of the many barriers she broke down for women and gender rights in her not-so-subtle way:
- She was elected to Parliament in 1959—a time when only 4% of its members were women.
- She was one of only a few conservatives to support the decriminalization of homosexuality in the U.K. in 1966.
- She became the U.K.’s first female (and, so far, only) prime minister in 1979.
- She managed to raise twins—as she gained substantial political power—and was regularly home “in time to do the washing up.”
- She made the blue power suit iconic.
- She was elected three times to lead a political body of men who regularly mocked her for being a woman.
Margaret Thatcher on Weakness of European Countries
Lonely at the Top: Being a Lady Boss Without Mentors
Despite all the talk about ‘leaning in,’ things aren’t that simple (they never really were). Ann Friedman writes in New York magazine that when she became a boss at the young age of 29, there were no mentors to be found; in fact, she “didn’t know what a good boss looked like either.” In what she calls, “boss-lady isolation,” Friedman lays out the lay of the land:
Of the handful of older women I’d worked with, some seemed to be resentful of me, prone to lectures about how hard they had it in the deeply sexist early days of their career. Others weren’t exactly hostile, but still kind of cold. A few clearly wanted to mentor me, but had to be home at 5 p.m. every day for their second shift. And there was also a whole swath of women aged 30 to 40 missing entirely from the workplace, due to the Mommy Gap, which may help explain the existence of twentysomething bosses in the first place.
Friedman concludes, somewhat sadly, somewhat realistically, that for many women, the “top” will always be a lonely place.
Read more at New York magazine.
Toy Stories, by Photographer Gabriele Galimberti
For this week’s dose of gratitude, we share with you the work of Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti, whose project, Toy Stories, features children from around the world posing with their most prized possessions. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking look into (1) the things that make us happy, and (2) how much—and equally, how little—some of us need to make us happy.
Maudy, from Kalulushi, Zambia. Favorite toy: box of sunglasses found in the street.