Artwork by Chloe Leeson
It seems with every passing year, that the discrimination gap in the entertainment industry gets just that little bit smaller, here are some of the best moments of 2015 that assisted with it’s closing…
FURIOSA/MAD MAX IN GENERAL GIVES A NEW FACE TO THE ACTION-HEROINE
George Miller’s latest venture into the Mad Max franchise- Mad Max: Fury Road, actually turned out to be one of the greatest action films ever made, not just because of it’s eye-popping visuals, low on dialogue-high on explosions mantra and Tom Hardy’s beautiful, dirty face, but because of this lady right here- Imperator Furiosa. An amputee war-rig driver played by Charlize Theron, who is out to steal away bad guy Immortan Joe’s prize breeders and free them from sexual slavery then take them to her all-women feminist utopia ‘the green place’. I’ve literally never heard anything greater in my life. Furiosa not only gives much needed representation to women and disabled bodies, she has all the makings of an action hero; she fights and has no fear as any man would, but her real strength lays in her quiet moments of reflection when she was allowed to grieve and consider her options.
PROTEST AT THE ‘SUFFRAGETTE’ PREMIERE REALLY SPEAKS OF REVOLUTION
When Suffragette came out in October, it was criticized highly for leaving out the contributions of black and Indian women in the Women’s Rights movement. But one thing that made Suffragette stand out, other than it being directed by a woman, was the protest that happened at the London premiere. Activists from the group Sisters Uncut, thrown themselves over the barriers to lay down on the red carpet, linking arms and shouting many things one of them being ‘dead women can’t vote’-the group campaigns against domestic violence. If there was one place to hold a feminist protest, this was it- and the films lead actresses Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter seemed more than pleased with the message it put across.
ROSE MCGOWAN CALLS OUT HOLLYWOOD’S SEXISM
Back in June, Rose McGowan took to Twitter to voice her opinion on a casting note for an upcoming Adam Sandler movie that said auditioning actresses must wear ‘form fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged)’. Her comments were rightfully made and the casting note a disgusting display of Hollywood sexism. McGowan, who has never been quiet about her views, was fired by her agent later that week for speaking out. Her tweets have become even more vocal over time, with one of her more recent rants being that Vulture missed McGowan off their ‘100 Women Directors ‘ list, after she recently released he fantastic short film, Dawn. She’s also recently spoken out on homophobia, White Male privilege, Planned Parenthood and gun control.
CAROL- THE LESBIAN ROMANCE EVERYONE HAS DREAMED OF
Todd Haynes’ beautiful romance film Carol hit cinemas only a few weeks ago but has been celebrated by cinema-goers and critics alike, with Little White Lies critic David Ehrlich giving it the title of his favourite film of 2015. The lesbian love story following Cate Blanchett as Carol, the cool 50’s fur-coat-wearing, smoke-blowing socialite, mother and wife who meets Rooney Mara’s Therese, a department store clerk and they begin a whirlwind, passionate and whispered romance. It is very rare that non-tragic lesbian films get wide-releases so this one is huge and I would urge everyone to pay to see it if you can.
THE NY TIMES PUBLISHES ‘THE WOMEN OF HOLLYWOOD SPEAK OUT’, ADDING NEW VOICES TO THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST SEXISM IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
In November, the New York Times published, quite frankly, one of the best articles on women in film, ever. They met with women directors, producers and writers to find out their take on Hollywood’s fast-crumbling sexist streak, detailing the trails and tribulations of a woman in the industry with interviews with everyone from Miranda July, Catherine Hardwicke, Rose McGowan, Karyn Kusama to Dee Rees, accompanied by fantastic photographs from Amy Kellner. The women discuss the hiring of indie male directors with one feature behind them to direct summers biggest blockbusters (Jurassic World), why women’s careers never seem to recover after one flop and how the foreign market is perhaps failing film-makers with interests other than superhero movies. You can read the full article here.
THE BOYCOTTING OF THE FILM ‘STONEWALL’ TELLS HOLLYWOOD THAT QUEER HISTORY WILL NOT BE WHITEWASHED AND MANIPULATED
Activists and members of the LGBT community were outraged when the first images and trailer for Roland Emmerich’s dramatisation of the Stonewall Riots surfaced. The footage showed a white man in place of the true leader of the Stonewall Riots, trans-woman and sex worker Marsha P Johnson. In fact, the film seemed to take no pride in any historical accuracy whatsoever, whitewashing some of the cast and diminishing the efforts of trans people in the movement. A boycott was then called for and the film grossed only $112,414 in its US opening weekend of its $13,500,000 budget and currently stands at only a 3.2/10 on IMDB and 9% on Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’.
VIOLA DAVIS WINS THE EMMY FOR ‘BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES’- SHE’S THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO DO SO
Viola Davis made history in September when she won the Emmy for ‘Best Actress in a Drama Series’ for her work on How To Get Away with Murder. She was the first black woman to win this accolade and gave an impassioned and emotional speech upon acceptance where she thanked previous trailblazers such as Halle Berry and Kerry Washington.
THE LATEST IN THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE CASTS A WOMAN, A BLACK MAN AND A HISPANIC MAN IN THEIR NEW LEAD ROLES
To finish up a great year for film, JJ Abrams’ latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, headed up it’s cast of newbies with a woman, Daisy Ridley and black man, John Boyega as the main characters, helped along the way by the wonderful Hispanic delight that is Oscar Issac. Lupita Nyong’o also added to this diverse cast despite being present in motion-capture form. There was backlash though, with racist trolls attacking Boyega to which he has responded with ‘Finn is all melanin! All chocolate! 100% Nigerian! Dear racists, look at me now, I’m getting paper’ , Ridley’s character Rey, was also left out of multiple play sets for children released around the christmas period, despite being the central focus. Doesn’t stop the film being any less brilliant, though.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL SHAKES UP THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT YOUNG GIRLS’ SEXUALITY
The Diary of a Teenage Girl was a game changer, in that the plot focused entirely on a teenage girl and in no shape or form placed her in a negative light. It followed the story of a 15 year old girl as she began having sexual relationships and the trials and tribulations that come with them. Instead of demonising her because of her sex drive and implying that it’s subversive, in the way many films do – the film highlighted that no matter what your gender, sex is nothing to be ashamed of. -(contributed by Megan Gibb)
By Chloe Leeson
Chloe Leeson is the founder of Screenqueens. She is 20 and from the north of England (the proper north). She believes Harmony Korine is the future and is pretty sure she coined the term ‘selfie central’. She doesn’t like Pina Coladas or getting caught in the rain but she does like Ezra Miller a whole lot. Her favourite films are Into The Wild, The Beach and Lords of Dogtown. But DON’T talk to her about Paranormal Activity. She rants about cinema screenings @kawaiigoff.