This post was written back in 2005 on Blogger where I first started MindLib. Given the current climate, I thought it was worth a re-post here.
September 21, 2005
So I kind of went off on the guys at work. I’m the only woman in the production office and therefore privy to the sort of raunchiness normally reserved for locker rooms. I was naïve enough to believe that since we share an office environment there would be some limits set on sexual innuendo. But the film industry is a notorious boys club and I learn this more each day. At first I tried to ignore it, though I certainly couldn’t laugh at it. A crude joke or two doesn’t get to me but it’s the constant and degrading critique of women’s bodies that pushes me over the edge. Mind you these are men who, appearance-wise, are in no position to judge other people.
None of the remarks were directed towards me and I get along quite well with these men. Most of the time they are smart and funny. I thought that I should set a subtle example with my refusal to participate in the sexual gauntlet or maybe say a few words aimed at balancing the scales. But it’s gotten to the point where even my opinion is shot down as being without merit. I’m still not used to the discrepancy between the environment I create with my own work and the environment I have to deal with in order to make money. I’m used to being the producer/director and to having people treat me with respect. But in my daily routine of earning of living I have to put up with men who condescend to me for no apparent reason other than my sex.
When I first started the job I had a whole debate with the production coordinator about how the female nudity in the film and all dialogue directed towards or about the female characters was degrading. I understood the object of the film was to make money but I felt badly that any actress would subject herself to it simply to get a job. We agreed to disagree and the coordinator tries to keep his mouth shut around me. But then the dailies came in and the men in office watched a barely 18-year-old girl bare her breasts, and another girl shower nude, and then proceeded to evaluate the girls on breast size, butt size, etc. There has been a barrage of remarks about the four women in this cast- all of whom were chosen for their sex appeal.
Today someone made a remark about how Tyra Banks proved on her show that her breasts were real. The producer then commented, “It doesn’t matter because she has cellulite.” I said, “Why do we have to judge a woman on something over which she has no control?” The producer promptly shot me down by saying that any woman could eliminate cellulite by changing her diet and exercising. This is the same producer who likes the skeletal, drug-addicted look on women. While diet and exercise play a part in cellulite, that’s not all there is to it. Sometimes it has nothing to do with that and thin women have cellulite too. He refused to even hear my opinion until I suddenly crumpled a piece of paper in frustration and snapped, “Forget it.” Then they were all ears and I couldn’t help venting over the completely inappropriate conversation I had been subjected to for the last two months. The producer said that he didn’t condone it but that it happened because “they were human.” I said, “Well, I’m human too, but I don’t come in here and talk about the size of your c— because that would be disrespectful to you.” That shut him up. Now the men are gently tiptoeing around with golf jokes and it’s the first relaxed afternoon I’ve had in a while.
After I vented I wondered if it would cost me future work. Maybe guys don’t want to restrain themselves and having a woman around is cramping their style. Maybe they won’t call me for the next gig because I’m too sensitive or emotional. But hang it, I’m much older and wiser now. We women have an uphill battle in this industry and why is it ever okay to listen to and accept the way men speak about us? How will it change if we don’t raise our voices? It’s interesting though…the producer treated me better today than he has all month. Yes, I do have a brain and breasts all at the same time. Astounding, isn’t it?