A few days ago, our nation celebrated National Equality Day, a day to remember the early fight for equal rights and celebrate the 19th Amendment. In my in box was an email from The United State of Women reminding us to participate in politics because the right to vote was a giant leap forward for feminism. They also asked us to continue to make strides for women by pursuing our passions, by supporting women in business and fighting for causes that support women's rights. And they asked us to support females in film, accompanied by the image of the all female cast in the Ghostbusters remake.
"Movies inspire us and give us some of our first role models. Let’s help girls realize that being a princess is only one of a million different dreams they can have. Support strong women-led films with your wallet and round up your #squads (and male allies!) to see movies the opening weekend." - United State of Women
I took my daughter to see the Ghostbusters remake on opening weekend (because opening weekend ticket sales determine if a movie is a box office hit). When the movie ended we were in the ladies room hashing through all the best parts. A woman in the ladies room overheard our conversation and stopped me to thank me for what I said, calling me "the mother of the year" a title I definitely haven't earned but I feel really great about what my daughter and I discussed - it will stick with her for many years to come.
Here's what I said. As my daughter told me how much she loved the movie I asked her why, what was so significant. She said she loved watching those women taking on the ghosts. Lets say that again. She loved "seeing those women take on the ghosts."
"Yes," I said. "Those women were pretty fierce." And then I pointed out to her that this movie was groundbreaking for Hollywood in so many ways. Four women in the lead roles typically reserved for men. Three of the characters the women played were scientists...physicists in fact. (Mind blowing! Women cast as scientists.) Leslie Jones's character had a much more significant part and a leadership role with the team in this movie, a big departure from the "sidekick" role Ernie Hudson originally played in 1984. And this movie was directed by a man, Paul Feig, who is an advocate of casting more women in leading roles in Hollywood. And to prove the point he cast the role of the dumb, hot assistant as a male played by Chris Hemsworth.
For me, an advocate of change in Hollywood, a supporter of the Geena Davis Institute and a feminist, this movie meant so much more to me. I loved seeing an a-typical casting of women in this movie. Melissa McCarthy who has oft been described by her appearance rather than her immense talent. Melissa is killing it in comedy in Hollywood in lead roles in major blockbuster movies. And Kristin Wiig, an incredibly talented performer and writer. We know her for her work on Saturday Night Live and in countless TV shows and films but did you know she also wrote Bridesmaids? Yes - she wrote it! The brilliant Kate McKinnon who has an incredibly long list of acting appearances on her resume and the insatiably funny Leslie Jones, who had us laughing every step of the way through the movie, just like she does every week on Saturday Night Live. Her recent tweets about the Rio Olympics got her invited to personally come to Rio and cover the event first-hand. She's innovative and funny and what some in the industry consider an anomaly because her acting career didn't pick up until well into her 40's.
So ladies, have your daughter's watch this movie and explain to them what I explained to my daughter because "if they can see it they can be it." And read more ideas about how to celebrate the 19th Amendment and all we've achieved for women in this Huffington Post article from The United State of Women.
ABOUT UNITED STATE OF WOMEN: The first summit on The United State of Women represented an important moment for women and girls domestically and internationally, as well as for all proponents of gender justice and equality. Following the summit, The United State of Women remains committed to giving a megaphone to the importance of gender equality and providing a platform for addressing these critical concerns. The summit may have concluded, but our work is far from over.
ABOUT GEENA DAVIS INSTITUTE: Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. Our biennial symposium is the only event convening over 300 decision makers, content creators, and thought leaders to share best practices and create a blueprint towards establishing a gender-balanced media landscape. Review information their our past and upcoming symposiumsRead More