In the 1920’s women looked like this:
In 2017 women look like this:
I don’t exactly know what women were like in the 1920’s, so I don’t know how they began but I know what my beginning was. I was thirteen when I first realized something was up. I was walking down a neighborhood street and as a few boys on bicycles rode behind me one of them pinched my ass as he passed by. Like this was a cool thing to do. Like he would get high-fives from his friends for it later.
I wish I could say I did something cool like ninja throw a twig in his spokes and see him eat dirt, or at least shout, “Go fuck yourself!” but I just sort of stopped walking for a second, quietly stunned. I didn’t feel violated. Maybe I should have but instead I just felt mad- at him and at myself for not doing anything. I never got to look at their faces, all I could see was that the lead asshole had long black hair and dressed kind of like a metalhead (sorry metalhead friends), not anyone I recognized from school that I’d be able to rain revenge on.
That’s the day I knew what lay ahead for me and for all women. I don’t see it as an ending; my innocence had left a long time ago. I looked at it as a beginning; my beginning of being a smart bitch.* I never let any guy get away with shit like that ever again and the ones that tried, well, you guys know who you are- how’re those wounds healing?
Z: The Beginning of Everything was an exciting set. My first day of many days was at Silvercup studios in Long Island City. The Amazon series starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald was beautifully designed, and I felt the speakeasy spirit whip around me as I was costumed with beaded dresses that swished when I walked and curled hair decorated with jewel studded feathers. Going into the sound stage was like entering a dream. It’s as decadent as you can imagine illegal drinking in a past time period to be, fresh with sequined dancers on stage and a jazz band actually playing live music. The scenes I was part of went from glorious to ghastly as a publisher character mentioned to the Fitzgeralds that Zelda could write a book and F. Scott grit his teeth and pouted like a little boy for having had the attention taken away from his famed writing career. This show is about Zelda Fitzgerald, after all, and I’d enjoy to imagine the real F. Scott shouting from his grave, “What about me!”
In between one of the setups, Christina Ricci introduced herself to me and held out her hand. I never** get star struck but… I mean… Christina Ricci. Plus, I was holding a prop drink and some had spilled and made my hands sticky. So I froze and then before I could even get my name out the next shot was up and she scurried away to get into position. (Christina, if you are reading this I promise I am not against shaking hands. I grew up being the little girl that wanted to be friends with you as a little girl and chances are I’d be less shocked meeting the actual Zelda Fitzgerald, and she was pretty badass.)
I mean, shit. Zelda Fitzgerald was THE (female) author that never got to be A (female) author. I get that she loved the guy but what the fucking fuck? Maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald, the most popular, cripplingly insecure writer in American history, could have let his wife sit next to him at the typewriter and said, “Hey my love, it might be easier to get your work published under my name because societies standards are lame but you should get credit for your work. Who cares if it might be difficult?” Instead he insisted she was mentally ill for behavior similar to that of his own and had her locked away in an asylum while he continued to publish her writing under his own name and have affairs with other women.
I’m not even exaggerating. And, even if Zelda was a little out of control, honestly, who wouldn’t be if they had to deal with Ernest Hemingway butting into their personal life?
I guess women have come a long way since then, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
It’s not easy finding your voice, and when you are a woman working in film (and probably every industry), especially if you’re a director, then your voice is going to be shouted over, mansplained to, and stepped on (sometimes even literally- “stepped on” is film speak for when someone cuts you off on walkie-talkies, it’s like mansplaining with the push of a button) and it’s going to sound like a disgusting, messy, barrage of noise similar to that kind of microphone feedback that makes you double over as you grasp your head and beg for mercy.
And now if that doesn’t sound bad enough, here’s the real shit- you can’t let anyone see you stressed. At all. Ever. Because you are a woman, and if a woman gets fed up with all the bullshit crap buzzing around her then she is “hysterical.” I’ve even been called “rabid” during a heated FB comment fight where I argued for women’s rights with a Texas dude. I just want to have the same opportunities and I’m being compared to an animal that foams at the mouth? Fuck.
For all the good guys out there, apologies on behalf of your gender are cool but not necessary. Just be nice*** and let us work with you as much as we have worked for you for all these freaking years.
And for any mansplainers who might be seeing this, it’s a new century and one day soon, I might be your boss, sweetheart.
*And there's nothing smarter than a smart bitch.
**More like hardly ever, ‘cause you know, Jesse Eisenberg exists <3
***Or don’t- if you’re an asshole to males and females alike then we don’t need or want any special treatment from you, thumbs up on your undiscriminating shittiness.