EDIT: As if hearing my plea, @womeninhistory shares this recent post by the WSJ exposing the essential contributions of women in the Civil Rights movement.
This is exactly the kind of example I should follow – write, write, write!!
It’s been a while since I’ve written or really considered this blog or the project associated with it. The summer has been chock full of life events…I got married…started a full time job. Before I knew it, May became late August and things on this end had grown a bit stale.
I’ve started a few posts through the months. But am now inspired to share some thoughts about an upcoming documentary about the first narrative film director, Alice Guy-Blaché. I’m truly excited to see the film when it’s available. Why? It’s not about women in the early years of punk. But in a way, it is…about a time when there were no rules. A time when the bold seized the moment and claimed it for generations to come. Because it’s a broken record that needs to be super glued, smoothed and played properly!
I learned of Guy-Blaché’s existence and contributions over 20 years ago, thanks to the tireless commitment by Ally Acker to capture her story. Her book, Reel Women documents the many pioneers of early cinema who happen to be women, and should be required reading in *every* film school.
I’m consistently gobsmacked whenever I hear “women weren’t part of [insert movement, career, etc here]” or “it was hard for women to [blah blah blah]”. Every time someone utters these kind of things I feel like Mugatu screaming “I feel like I’m taking craaaazy pills!!”
Watching the trailer for both the film and the Kickstarter campaign I wondered – why does the tone continue to be “I’m shocked/surprised/aghast! This is such an amazing feet for a woman…to be able to do something like that at this [heavily patriarchal] point in history”?? Women have ALWAYS been there in the muck, and in the glory – innovating, participating. They’re just either not spoken of, or downright written out of history. And when acknowledged, it seems to carry the caveat “So impressive she managed to achieve [xyz] at a time when women weren’t [allowed/encouraged/etc]”. I’m not saying by any stretch difficulties weren’t present – but they still ARE! And women continue to be as strong, amazing and many times, beyond compare!
What can be done to change this? Nothing is ever going to shift in how the stories of women are told when we continue to be squared into the “other”. I expect this from male story tellers…but not from women. I really don’t think it’s too much.