Film & Television

Kamala Lopez, A Woman Who Is Making A Difference

Earlier this month, I saw the remarkable documentary Equal Means Equal. It isn’t an easy film to watch. Without flinching, writer, director, producer Kamala Lopez walks us through a dozen disturbing issues that women face today, each of which is intrinsically linked to each other — and to the failure of our nation to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Lopez about her work. Drawing on the day’s headlines, I asked her about Chessy Prout, the brave young woman who has come forward as the heretofore-anonymous rape victim at St. Paul’s prep school. In her passionately outspoken way, Lopez quickly broadened the question.

WVFC: So, you’re saying that cases like St. Paul’s “Senior Salute” are just a part of a larger situation?

KL:  Yes. It’s like we’re sitting having a nice picnic by the side of this rushing river. Suddenly we see a body floating by. And then more bodies start coming and more bodies, so we jump into the river, pull bodies out and give them resuscitation. What I am doing is going up to the top of this river to find out who the motherfuckers are throwing the bodies in. That’s what has to be done now.

WVFC:  Will we gain traction if Clinton is elected in November? Do you think that will fundamentally change things?

KL:  It can’t hurt to have a woman president. But let’s face it, America is run by money. This whole situation is held in place by corporate greed and people that want to win by taking advantage of women — and it just can no longer be tolerated. Until we have equal rights in all ways under federal law, things won’t change for women.

WVFC: Many of the incredible people who appear in Equal Means Equal bemoan the fact that young women haven’t continued to carry the torch for equal rights. Why do you think they’re so wary of the term “feminist?”

KL:  I take great umbrage with people who blame youth. It isn’t their fault. This is a deliberate gaslighting of this generation. This is a propaganda campaign; they are being sold a lie. This is a generation that is being treated unlike any other in American history. They’re given schooling that sucks; college they can’t pay off until middle age; jobs that don’t pay the rent. They’re being told that they can swipe to the right instead of learning that their bodies are only a very small part of what make them a valuable part of the human race.

WVFC: You make it sound like a conspiracy.

KL: It’s a massive cover-up on a scale that no one can even imagine because it touches every single person’s life. This is why I say America is at the brink of a cognitive dissonance breakdown. Cognitive dissonance is believing two things simultaneously that are opposed. It’s schizophrenia on a national level. Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the ERA . . . we’re all talking about the same thing. The system is broken and it has to be fixed. And we have to start with the United States Constitution because everything else is built on it.

WVFC: But, as your film points out, it’s pervasive. It’s too big to be a conspiracy, isn’t it? It’s conscious and subconscious actions combined.

KL:  Yes, but they go hand in glove. If you have a culture that normalizes this rampant sexism, and then you have federal judges and state judges that interpret the law to reinforce that cultural “normalcy,” and then you have no underlying law that we can point to and say “No, that’s not allowed,” then you have a problem.

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