Why Won’t Hollywood Recognize Female Filmmakers?

By Kailyn Eagy

Short-haired blonde woman in black suit on stage at an awards show. Behind her are large gold statues, representing the trophies given at the show to winners.
Ellen DeGeneres hosting the 86th Academy Awards. Source: Creative Commons

On the morning of January 13, 2020, actor John Cho and actress/producer Issa Rae announced this year’s Academy Award nominations. As per usual of film and television awards, there were a few films that were consistently nominated across the categories, such as Joker (2019) leading with 11 nominations. Unfortunately, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group of filmmakers that vote for nominees and winners, has historically failed to properly give nominations to women and people of color filmmakers – this year is no exception. Despite creating some of the most acclaimed films of the year, the Academy has failed to formally recognize their excellence and contributions. 

Despite critics and audiences praising many female-directed films, such as Lulu Wang’s family drama The Farewell (2019), Lorene Scarfaria’s heist film Hustlers (2019), and Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), they are hardly recognized in this year’s Academy nominations. To much upset, Greta Gerwig, the director of the highly acclaimed Little Women (2019), was not nominated in this year’s Best Director category despite the film being nominated for Best Picture as well as Best Adapted Screenplay. Last year, Gerwig was nominated for Best Director with her coming-of-age film Lady Bird (2017), but lost to Alfonso Cuarón, who won for Roma (2018). With few other female directors being as expected as Gerwig to receive a nomination, this year’s Best Director category is all-male.

Continue reading “Why Won’t Hollywood Recognize Female Filmmakers?”

First Things First: A Short Introduction

By Kailyn Eagy

Hello, everyone! I’m very excited to share with you all a little bit about myself. While most of my memories are from growing up in Boise, Idaho, my life did not start there. I was born in Lianyungang – a “small” Chinese town of roughly three million people. Only after about a year did I immigrate to Idaho through adoption where I became the youngest of five children. 

Although I have a deep love for my rapidly growing hometown of Boise, Idaho, I always dreamt of going elsewhere for college. Applying to schools on both the east and west coasts, I was so incredibly nervous and excited for what the future might bring. After swearing to myself I wouldn’t stay in Idaho for college, I quickly realized the financial costs of studying out-of-state were impractical. 

The author in a light pink dress holding boxes of fruit.
The author in Moscow, Idaho after a trip to the local Saturday market.
Continue reading “First Things First: A Short Introduction”

Exploring Sexuality

By: Madelyn Starritt

Women are constantly presented as sex objects in the media (Advertisements, movies, etc.). This degrades women and can cause many insecurities and issues for women who are constantly surrounded by this hypersexualized, unrealistic image of what we expect women to be. We all know this though because this content is constantly getting called out and criticized. Something surrounding this issue that isn’t so popular is how it hurts a woman’s sexuality as well.  Problems surrounding sexuality aren’t just reserved for women, there are so many issues surrounding how we should express our sexuality and if it should be accepted for all genders. This is not only perpetuated by the media industry but by porn as well. These industries help to degrade women, perpetuate stereotypes about all genders, and contribute to the idea that women’s sexuality shouldn’t be taken seriously because it is only there for the pleasure of straight men.

Here we are, back to the patriarchy. Where a woman’s sexuality is only supposed to be explored for men to look at and men aren’t supposed to explore their sexuality at all unless it’s to bang as many women as he can.

Continue reading “Exploring Sexuality”

Get the Job Done (Later)

Three young women playing around on the beach - West Palm Beach, Florida, 1953.
Women at play

By CMarie Fuhrman

I come from a long line of women who get the job done. No matter if it is making lunch for a haying crew of thirty hungry ranchers, or rallying resources in the last minutes before a Christmas morning gathering to make sure the late additions to our table would have gifts to open after dessert. We accomplish the task. My female friends are equally driven. I’ve been on a crew of five that made all the food for a wedding with over 300 guests. We stayed up all night peeling potatoes for salad and rolling up pieces of lunch meat for the buffet and got up the next morning in time to set it all up, dress the bride, get to the service, and smile in the photographs. My girlfriends and I have cut firewood, branded calves, painted, packed, and proved over and over that no matter the job, we can get it done.

And now many of those same women and I have joined the ranks of our sisters all over the globe to get other jobs done. Together we are marching for change, for peace, for climate, for the environment. I’ve joined sister-friends in democratic calls for action, given a thumbs up on every single photo another friend posts about wild spaces and our need to keep them. And I have sat in a classroom with the wonderful bloggers that I share this space with, and talked about the challenges and the rewards of being female and the best way to showcase those.

And I am tired. Continue reading “Get the Job Done (Later)”

I Like Things That Look Like Mistakes: Frances Ha Film Review

Frances and Sophie

“I should sleep in my own bed,” says Frances, her face shadowed and obscured in a dark room.

“Why?” Another woman is next to her in bed, distracted by the light of her laptop.

“Because I bought it.”

“Stay,” says the woman. Frances smiles. “But take your socks off.” Continue reading “I Like Things That Look Like Mistakes: Frances Ha Film Review”

50 Shades of “Nope”: A Feminist Review

By Morgan Fisher7449692514_10d249636c_z

Warning: Movie Spoilers

Last week, I watched the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. I never read the books, mostly due to the fact that I was warned about how horrendously written they were, but also a little bit because my Twilight phase passed after I graduated high school and I didn’t want to be reminded of the misogynistic, backward crap I used to like. But I did decide that I wanted to see the movie to develop a concrete opinion on the plot and messed-up character dynamics. And boy, did I.

The movie, which is based on the novel by E.L. James, which is based on Twilight (it originated as a fanfiction) centralizes around the story of Anastasia and Christian and his “I want to be with you but I’m bad for you but I’m going to pursue you anyway” mentality. And naturally, Anastasia has no say in the matter. Christian Grey is an obsessive, controlling misogynist who only further perpetuates the stereotype that it’s okay for a man to order around a woman, so long as he’s being nice to her.

Continue reading “50 Shades of “Nope”: A Feminist Review”

Sexuality, Gender, and Representation in Science Fiction

Amber Atalaya Evans Pinel

        For many people science fiction is a genre full of new ideas, futuristic thoughts, innovative design, and political insight. In many ways, science fiction reveals current political climates and cultural ideologies of our time. Some might even call the genre socially progressive due to it’s ability to introduce characters and ideas that don’t fit the “norm.” I can sing praises of all the great things about science fiction all day, but I think it’s time to explore what science fiction television shows are lacking – proper representation for people of the alphabet soup (LGBTQA & etc.), and specifically transgendered and non-binary people/characters.

I don’t want to say there aren’t any LGBTQA characters in science fiction television, because that’s not true at all. In the prequel to Battlestar Galactica (the 2003 reboot), a relatively short series called Caprica (2010), one of the main characters – Sam Adama – is portrayed in a loving and healthy relationship with his husband.

Sam Adama from the series Caprica

Sam Adama is a gang member who came to Caprica with his family some years before the show’s beginning. Sam is a hit man and is portrayed as a very strong, determined, and dangerous character. I think the writers did an excellent job on him and his family’s story, in that they did not make him a trope, nor did they particularly emphasize his relationship with his husband. The fact that he is in a same sex relationship isn’t even mentioned: he’s simply married. Furthermore, Caprica features a group/cooperative/polyamorous family in which one of the main characters, Sister Clarice Willow (the headmaster of a religious private school), has several husbands and wives, and they all communally raise their children and live under the same roof.

However, Battlestar Galactica doesn’t feature any relationships that aren’t heteronormative. And, both shows only have cisgendered characters. Unfortunately, this isn’t exclusive to Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. I have never seen a science fiction or fantasy television show that featured transgendered characters. Science fiction literature tends to be much more liberal with their characters; I’ve read a variety of books that contain lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters. However, even in the literature of one of the most progressive genres that features new ideas and “radical” political views, LGBTQA characters are still a rarity. And, books that feature transgendered characters are even more difficult to find. I wanted to include some titles and authors of books that do feature these characters, but after a lengthy internet search I’m still at a loss. Here’s a list of science fiction books that feature gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters.

It’s true that in recent years lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters have been making it into science fiction television. However, the numbers of those characters are still relatively small and there’s only one I know of who is the main character: Bo in the series Lost Girl. Lost Girl does an excellent job of portraying LGB characters without making them tropes. But even that excellent show lacks transgendered characters (as far as I know, I haven’t seen the whole series yet.)

Why, in the genre of the future, are transgendered characters invisible? Because writers, producers, directors, and screenwriters are not pushing for these characters to exist in their worlds. I cannot stress enough how important it is to put these characters into science fiction literature and television, and media in general. People who do not fit the gender binary do exist in our world; a large part of letting them know that they’re normal, and their experience is natural, is to make sure they see people like them in the media. We gather almost all of our cultural information through the media – especially through television. It is imperative that transgendered characters are written. And, in the futuristic and boundary-pushing genre of science fiction, I’m disgusted there isn’t already ample representation of transgendered characters.



Female Genre-Fiction Characters: Q&A Exploration

In order to gain an understanding of the value of female characters in genre fiction, several people were asked about their favorite female characters. The answers as to why these characters matter are un-surprisingly fascinating.