FEMINIST FRIDAY: Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Asks Hollywood “Where Are All The Female Heroes?”

sarah-moshman-TEDx-Talk

It’s Feminist Friday, you guys! And since it is a holiday weekend here in the US, we thought we’d take advantage of the Thanksgiving sentiment and express how grateful we are to our community of readers, contributors and behind-the-scenes masterminds who keep GTHQ going. We also want to extend our gratitude to all the creators, innovators, activists, artists, revolutionaries, heroes and game-changers who are working to make the world a better place. This is what we love promoting on our platform.

Our first video is a TEDx Talk given by a woman we love and admire. Sarah Moshman is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She was recently asked to travel to Normal, Illinois for the ‘Anything but Normal’ TEDx Event to give a talk on her experience as a woman in the film industry, and why what we see on screen (or lackthereof) matters a great deal in a world where equality is still something we are reaching for.

Her most recent documentary is ‘Losing Sight of Shore’, which follows the story of 4 British women who rowed the Pacific Ocean over 9 months without any help (and the majority of them were not rowers at all!) to raise awareness for breast cancer research and create a new world record. But Sarah is most well-known for ‘The Empowerment Project’, a documentary made by an all-female crew over 30 days, where they traveled throughout the United States interviewing pioneer women in a range of industries and fields.

The goal was to prove that ordinary and extraordinary female heroes do exist, but if you went by the extremely low statistics of female heroes shown in major Hollywood films, you’d never know this. Sarah passionately spoke of the power of cinema in its ability to transform the mind of a young girl by showing her what is possible.

And speaking of possibility, the next video, a trailer for a feature film called ‘Dangal’ embodies this spirit in more ways than one. This Bollywood film, starring women’s rights champion Aamir Khan, follows the real life story of Mahavir Singh Phogat who taught wrestling to his daughters Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat, both of whom went on to win medals in international sporting events.

Wrestling has started to emerge as a source of female empowerment in conservative India, especially in rural areas where women are rising against the social and cultural constraints to become beacons of hope for other women and girls. We saw this recently at the Rio Olympics where Indian Sakshi Malik became the first female wrestler to win a medal for her country, and despite opposition from those in her community, she is now being lauded as a hometown hero to emulate.

In the film, Aamir’s character tells the people in his community, who say he needs to stop training his daughters to become wrestlers, that he refuses to follow the status quo when it comes to gender norms.

“My daughters are no less than my sons,” he says, a statement which has the ability to send a powerful message to those who will watch this film.’Dangal’ is released in cinemas in India Dec 23rd, and keep an eye out for it on on-demand platforms.

Our final video to wrap up this edition of Feminist Friday is literally feminism (natch…). We have recently discovered our new fave Youtube Channel called Queer Kid Stuff, created by NYC-based Lindsay Amer, an artist and writer who wanted to create a resource for queer kids.

On the Queer Kid Stuff website, Lindsay describes being a queer tomboy growing up in a city like New York which was very liberal and open-minded as a privilege not every LGBTQ person in this country (or the world) necessarily gets to benefit from. The idea for the channel was to answer questions and create a dialog around topics that are often seen as taboo by areas of society, while also breaking down harmful stigma.

The pilot episode was launched in April 2016, and judging by the thousands of views the videos are getting, we need to see more of this kind of dialog. Another great resource for queer teens is ‘Everyone is Gay’, a Youtube series started by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo who want to make a series of videos that would help kids and their parents talk about issues in a shame-free, informative, supportive way.

One of the latest Queer Kid Stuff episodes was dedicated to talking about feminism with kids, and given the importance of intersectionality and LGBTQ issues being supported by the movement, we love that she has taken the time to talk about this. We are so thankful for a community of creative people who are using digital media and their voices to foster support and understanding while breaking down barriers for so many people. Just the simple message of “it’s OK to be gay” should not be underestimated in the lives of LGBTQ teens who are struggling with how they express themselves in the world today.

We highly encourage you to subscribe to Queer Kid Stuff on Youtube and share Lindsay’s work:


 

 

 

4 Comments

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