It’s Women’s History Month! Allow me to enlighten, highlight, celebrate and honor a few – just a few – utterly fabulous females who – in 2015 – heroically inspired, educated, entertained, motivated and ultimately empower US to follow their lead.
**DISCLAIMER: No way I could cover ALL the fabulous females! So please feel free to post your own at:
Let’s start with Patricia Arquette, who admits to losing two acting jobs from her acceptance speech demanding equality for women at the 2015 Oscars.
“I’m okay with that,” she said. “But it’s not just about acting, and it’s not about me as an actor. I don’t believe this is fair for anybody. I want to live in the America I believe in, that really is fair, that really has possibilities, and really does treat people of all races and all sexes equally.”
Her speech caused a FIRESTORM! She won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a divorced working, struggling, abused, educated American mom in the groundbreaking film Boyhood.
In 2014, The Sony hackers did a GREAT job of exposing Hollywood’s salary gender inequity. That’s how Jennifer Lawrence became enlightened, and wrote her highly publicized 2015 essay, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars”.
Charlize Theron negotiated a ten million dollar raise, and many more actresses – and actors – came out publicly supporting the women, condemning the system and demanding equality.
Natalie Portman agreed to play the role of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the biopic, but ONLY if a FEMALE director got hired.
And NOW, the ACLU is investigating sexism in Hollywood. Of course, Geena Davis and her Institute On Gender In Media (http://seejane.org) has been working on this for YEARS!
“We need half. That’s all we ask. Half. Half. In the House. In the Senate. At Universal. At Sony. If it were half, I can’t say the world would be better, but it would be representative,” said Ms. Streep on a press tour.
Rising to her feet, clapping wildly as she supported Arquette at the 2015 Oscars, was Meryl Streep, also nominated for her role in Into The Woods. But Meryl Streep’s ROLE MODELING continued in 2015 when she played the pioneering, militant, bomb throwing, window smashing, vote getting suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, in the film Suffragette. This tragically realistic story of what women went through and sacrificed, to participate in the elective franchise, was directed by a woman, Sarah Gavron. It was written by a woman named Abi Morgan, who also wrote the 2011 film Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher, starring Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep donated ONE MILLION DOLLARS of her Iron Lady salary to help build A National Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C. Yeah, we don’t have one. Still. No physical museum. Just a virtual one.
In Los Angeles in 2015, twenty million dollars was just spent building a car museum. Yup.
“You Don’t Know What It’s Like ‘Till It Happens To You.”
In February, Fabulous Female Documentary filmmaker Amy Ziering, producer of 2013’s The Invisible War, which exposed sexual abuse in the military, released The Hunting Ground, her 2015 documentary about college campus sexual assault. Lady Gaga and Diane Warren co-wrote the Oscar nominated song “Till It Happens To You”. Vice-President Joe Biden introduced the song AT the Oscars, and asked everyone to take the pledge to “change the culture on campus sexual assault.” Then Lady Gaga performed, ending with a parade of sexual assault survivors.
It was the first standing ovation of the evening.
In interviews, Ziering has said: “The disturbing irony is that these institutions are doing exactly what our film shows universities have done for the past 50 years: attack survivors…. and whistle blowers to protect their own reputations and funding at the expense of their students’ safety and well-being. It’s been kind of chilling and odd to watch this same playbook played out now against us. What’s also been disconcerting is the way some in the media will write about these attacks on the film without doing due diligence to determine if there is any validity to the attacks. It’s similar to what we saw happening in our country with regard to climate change, cigarette smoking, and, most recently, concussive head injuries in the NFL.”
The statistics are that one in five females will be sexually assaulted on a college campus. These assaults are most often unreported and unpunished. Take the pledge here: itsonus.org.
Thank you Amy Ziering.
And now, for some herstory … The Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1923 by Alice Paul, who was mentored by Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1982, after years of organizing, petitioning and ferocious battling (which continues today) the Equal Rights Amendment was just three states away from being ratified, when anti-feminist and uber conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly led a movement and derailed it. To find out where we are at today: http://www.equalrightsamendment.org.
And in 2015, here’s what Ms. Schlafly had to say about college campus sexual assault:
“Campus sex assault is on the rise because too many women go to college.”
Yikes! She also thinks colleges should reduce the number of women they admit. Yeah, that’ll fix it…
Another Fabulous Female Documentary Filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chonoy JUST took home an Oscar for her 2015 “A Girl In The River”.
This tragically true “honor killing” horror story is about nineteen year old Pakistani Saba Qaiser. Saba married a man that her family did not approve of. So, her father and uncle took her to the river. They shot her in the head. They stuffed her in a bag. And then they threw her in the river.
She survived. About 1,000 honor killings are reported every year in Pakistan. Although, like the sexual assault cases in the military and on college campuses, thousands more are unreported.
In her acceptance speech, Sharmeen Obaid-Chonoy said that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, saw the film and said “there is no honor in honor killings” (how profound!), and has promised to “toughen the laws”. Commenting on this “progress”, Sharmeen Obaid-Chonoy said:
“This is what happens when determined women get together.”
The uber-determined, youngest Nobel Peace Prize winning, fabulous Pakistani survivor of another murder attempt, who I predict will be running Pakistan someday….Malala Yousafzai…. is the subject of the 2015 documentary HE NAMED ME MALALA.
On a lighter note; actress, comedienne, writer, producer, former Daily Show correspondent, Samantha Bee debuted her fabulously funny and brilliant new late night show Full Frontal on TBS. The late night hosting field has always been a boys club. When John Stewart left The Daily Show, no ladies were asked to take his place.
There have been several female talk show hosts. But, Samantha Bee is the FIRST FEMALE HOST OF A LATE NIGHT COMEDY PROGRAM!
There are SO MANY more fabulous female heroines; such as Dr. Mona, the Flint, Michigan pediatrician who was instrumental in catapulting the water crisis into the public eye! I could go on for days….
So get your Women’s History on! If you are in Los Angeles or San Diego, come see SHE’S HISTORY! If not, Google “Women’s History Events” in your town. They are everywhere!
CELEBRATE WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH!