“My Lens is Bigger Than Yours” A Quick Aside On Being A Woman In A Male Dominated Discipline

First of all I need to say that I’m angry. I am actually livid about the way I’ve been treated since I changed my major. Secondly, this is going to be short and unorganized because I have finals to study for.

As a theatre major being a woman is so common that no one bats an eyelash. But now I’m a Film major, and God forbid a woman tries to produce films without being discriminated against or put down, regardless of her talent. And let me say that I know I’m not God’s gift to the world of cinema, and I’m still a student so of course I have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I also know that I have some talent in this area and have been given praise by people who are highly qualified and resected in their fields. I have also been given a lot of criticism from them which I try to apply to my own work. If someone wants to tell me my work is crap because it actually is, so be it. But if someone tries to put me down simply because I’m a woman and they have a problem with that, then we’re going to have a problem, because my vagina has no bearing on my artistic talent.

There is a serious lack of female presence in the cinema. Not because there aren’t woman producing films, but because in the andreocentric world that is movie making, woman tend to get passed over. There are obviously some prominent females, like  Kathryn Bigelow and Mira Nair, and of course Nora Ephron, but on the whole when you ask someone who their favorite director is they are going to Spielberg, or Tarantino, or Anderson, or Nolan. (Who are all with the exception of Tarantino on the top of my list as well). It is just down right frustrating as a woman to constantly be studying the work of a bunch of old white dudes. I’m over it. Where are my revolutionary female film makers? Why aren’t they making it into my text books? Someone explain to me why having a penis makes someone more qualified to teach, make, or critique films.

I also find a lot the men around me constantly trying to play the comparison game. The, “My lens is bigger than you” game. The truth is I feel no need to compare myself to anyone, at least not in a way that makes them feel like I’m better than them. I compare my work to other artists I respect so I can become a better director and film maker sure, but it seems to always turn into a primal, territorial thing with these guys. Sorry boys, I’m lacking an important organ to join in the fun, so I’ll just go back to being a professional and getting my work done, thanks.

Really it is just hard to wake up every morning and I know that as soon as I walk out of my door I’m going to have to listen to a bunch of men talk to me like I’m an idiot who couldn’t possibly understand what they are talking about. I’ve learned really quickly that there are some men who are just never going to see me as an equal no matter how hard I work or how much experience I have. Being in the south definitely exacerbates the problem. Coming from the liberal mountain of colorado to a small conservative town in Tennessee has been about as big of a culture shock as I’m likely to have outside of my move to Europe. I just want to be taken seriously and not as a child to be seen and not heard. But you know what? If I have to wake up everyday and prove that I have just as much creative right and talent as ten men my age and older, then so be it. I will fight everyday to show the world that I have a passion and vision and I’m not backing down. The more I get pushed out the harder I’ll push back. There may be a glass ceiling, but glass was made to be broken.

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2 thoughts on ““My Lens is Bigger Than Yours” A Quick Aside On Being A Woman In A Male Dominated Discipline

  1. Andrew

    I like this post. It doesn’t say “I have a complaint, and this is what men should do about it.”

    It says “I have a complaint, and this is what I’m going to do about it.”

    You’re showing growth, and you’re doing what you can to deal with a problem. I appreciate that. Lot’s of feminists will often just say what men should do, and what’s wrong with men, and it, ironically, becomes all about men.

    You make it about you. Not as a woman, not as a victim, but as a person who wants to succeed.

    • Thank you. I try to remember that if I can stay professional and let me work speak for itself, then I don’t have to constantly justify myself.

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