Hollywood has recently gotten a lot of attention for its diversity problem—only about 14% of TV directors are female, and that number gets worse (9%) when we go to the silver screen. That doesn’t even get into Hollywood’s problems with age, race, and sexuality, nor does it discuss the many respected actors (Matt Damon) who try their best to shout loudly over anyone who might attempt to explain or educate on these issues. But just having the statistics on this demographic breakdown doesn’t explain how these numbers came to be. Fortunately, a site launched this year to highlight the rampant sexism and misogyny faced by women in the movie- and TV-making fields.
Maybe it’s the years of being told women can’t direct, maybe it’s the unchanging abysmal employment statistics, maybe it’s the glacial pace at which change occurs in the film business, maybe it was one absurd remark too many. It wasn’t one thing in particular. It was more of an accumulation of stories told in private that made us decide to launch an open blog. Shit People Say To Women Directors is a collective diary for women to flush away all of the appalling bullshit we’ve been handed over the years while trying to make a living in film. A safe house where we could all share a laugh about how challenging the business really is for us. Our hope was for women to let off a little steam while shining a light on a pervasive problem.
Through the stories submitted to Shit People Say to Women Directors, we can really see how the pervasive misogynistic attitude in Hollywood has grown. All stories are submitted anonymously, but we still get the submitter’s general background, so we can see that female film students are unfairly treated by male teachers, female production assistants aren’t thought of as capable of doing much (though many times, they end up doing more than their male counterparts), and female directors and assistant directors often have their decisions questioned and their successes credited to male staffers. From these experiences, women who are already in film can see that they aren’t the only ones with such problems, and men and male-presenting people can see a personal take on the breadth and depth of Hollywood’s diversity problem.
Shit People Say to Women Directors is mostly a safe place for women in film to discuss their life experiences, but the site also often reblogs lists of badass directors working in film, talks about historical female directors whose work has been overlooked, and puts together resources for women in film who are hoping to get work (or better work). It’s an invaluable resource for our times, and hopefully Hollywood sits up and takes note.