“Girls who read Nancy Drew asserted their intelligence and autonomy and passed it on to their girls. They attended university - and so do their children - and yield the exact same amount of power as men (they know they can use their brain, not their body, to get where they want to go). Today, there’s plenty of detective girl lit and films with brave girls wielding swords that embolden educated girls who can afford books and movies, to become even stronger, more independent. Hermione of Harry Potter is a fabulous detective role model. However, in my perspective, it’s the poor girls from uneducated families who desperately need girl sleuth stories. Mothers who don’t read have low expectations of themselves and their daughters. Moms who read will tell their girls, ‘You can be anything,’ not, ‘You can become a cleaning lady like me and work for a wealthy family.’ Female detective stories encourage girls to pursue non-gender-appropriate work.”—Mayra Lazara Dole
I have an Iranian friend living in NY who recently returned from her trip back home. She told me that it was easier to be a woman in Iran because there is no pretense there about sexism. It’s overt. It’s policy. It’s ‘the way things are.’ What’s hard about being in the US, she said, is that women are disempowered by the myth that western women are liberated. The glass ceiling hurts every time we bash our heads against it but it’s entirely invisible. Have you ever run smack into a pane of glass? …
There is no petition to draft. There is no policy to fight. Yet, of the 250 top-grossing films in any given year, 6% are directed by women; of the 50 top-grossing movies each year, roughly 5 star or focus on women. In 80 years of Oscar history, with roughly 250 directors receiving a nomination for best director, 3 nominations went to female directors. No woman director ever received an Oscar.
It would be so much easier if someone would just flat out say it: ‘You’re not a director. You’re a girl.’