Monday, January 1, 2018

Already In 2018 The Real Force Is Women In Hollywood

The women behind the camera of Dee Rees's excellent drama "Mudbound".  Ms. Rees is at the top center of the photo. 

Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year.  Time's Up.

January 1 is not over yet and women have already served notice to the men of the male-dominated industries of the world that they'd better straighten up and fly right if they don't want something akin to a revolution or civil war in Hollywood and elsewhere.  I am dead serious.  Today the #TimesUp movement, which seeks equal representation, benefits and pay for all women, and greater representation and inclusion of women of color, immigrants and LGBT women made it clear that the rules of engagement in the workplace must and will be different in 2018.

More than anything -- including the films we can look forward to this year -- the #TimesUp movement, an organization which broadens the horizons to include all women of various backgrounds, has made a clear and compelling stand.  Actors and filmmakers of both genders, though a vast majority of them women in Hollywood, have backed Time's Up.  Meaningful change must occur in Hollywood and industries the world over of course, and Time's Up, an association of many women, has wasted no time in throwing down the gauntlet.  This is a good thing.  The rest of us -- men -- must support this movement, at the very least.

For maximum productivity, comfort and best results workplaces must be safe spaces for all.  And workplaces cannot be safe spaces for all if men are harassing or violating women.  Workspaces cannot be safe spaces if human resources is instead H.R. of a different kind: harassment reinforcement.  So very often H.R. is dedicated to protecting harassers, predators and the companies they work for while making life as uncomfortable as possible for the women (or men) who have been attacked on the job.

The most important movie of 2018 isn't occurring on the big screen.  It is a real life movement, one that "Norma Rae" would be proud of.  This is an unabashedly non-fiction work, a document of change unfolding off camera as you read this.  Gil Scott Heron once said that the revolution will not be televised but changes on the big screen (more inclusion behind the camera and in front of it, and movies like Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle In Time" on March 9) are coming.

The men who decry harassment in Hollywood -- specifically those A-list actors and directors who have gone public with their outrage against predators like Harvey Weinstein -- must demand that the film sets they themselves work on include more women on them.  (And in positions other than production assistant.)  Crews may be unionized but what if let's say, Tom Cruise, who can shut down whole movies with an injury (the upcoming "Mission: Impossible 6") or completely run them (last year's "The Mummy"), said, "I'm not working on this film until you have hired a 50% female film crew"?

This is what I think the Tom Cruises of the world must do.  (Mr. Cruise has not, to the best of my knowledge, gone public with a statement about the cadre of predators and harassers in Tinseltown.)  Tom Hanks, who has gone public, should demand the same.  Both of these Toms have immense power in Hollywood.  Their names are bigger than the directors who shout "action!" at them.  The Two Toms can get directors fired.  Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise can surely require, even of a unionized crew, that the gender balance be met on set. 

Women have done the heavy lifting.  They've bravely come forward into the light and in incredibly vulnerable fashion, re-opening their traumatic experiences to the world in which some scrutinize them, in order to challenge a centuries-old system of patriarchy and have it crumble like the Ancient Ruins.

Time's Up.  It's time for Hollywood's men -- especially men of power, to avoid doling out a steady dose of platitudes.  It's time for men of power to stand up and be counted.

A Happy New Year to all.  May the movies keep changing this year and the decision-makers and awards nominees become more inclusive.

Twitter: @TimesUpNW

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