Change, whether on a personal level or societal level, is hard. It requires work, the ability to open our eyes, and most importantly, the want to change.
The 2019 Netflixdocumentary, This Changes Everything, examines sexism in Hollywood and its impact on the careers of female creators, filmmakers, and performers. Speaking to noted names such as Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Shonda Rhimes, and Reese Witherspoon, the film looks at the ways in which women are inhibited from reaching the peak of their careers. Female filmmakers are not given the same opportunities as their male counterparts. If they have one successful film, it is a fluke. If a male filmmaker receives positive notices from critics and audiences, the door opens more work and a bigger budget. In the same vein, female actresses are often boxed into certain roles and are limited in screen time compared to their male co-stars. Very often, they are over-sexualized or forced into playing traditional female parts.
I got angry watching this film. Women are 50% of the population, yet on screen, we are at best minimized and at worst, forced into the background. What is worse is that we learn early that we need to fit a certain physical and sexual mold to not only be happy but also thrive. The one moment that really pissed me off was a conversation with actress Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie, 2013). At the young age of 16, a directive came down from the studios that she needed to amphliphy her bosom. What kind of adult tells a young girl that this is necessary to keep her job?
It is the kick in the but we need. Women are just as creative and capable as men. But we have not been given the opportunities to show what we can do. Those opportunities can only come when we break down the doors and demand our rights.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
This Changes Everything is avaliable for streaming on Netflix.
Taking place during World War II, it is the story of two sisters, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty). While the boys are fighting their way across Europe, a girls baseball league, called the AAGPBL is created. Both Dottie and Kit try out and are chosen for the Rockford Peaches, coached by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). But while their professional lives are a success, the relationship between the two sisters begins to degrade.
For a generation of young girls, this movie is nothing short of life changing. It was feminism without hitting the audience over the head. It was a history lesson that far from boring. It was the story of two sisters whose relationship felt normal and real. Most of all, it encouraged young girls to become athletes.
I recall seeing this movie in theaters back in the day and I remember walking out of the theater transformed. It was an amazing film then and 25 years later, it still is an amazing film.
I still can’t believe it’s been 25 years, time goes way too fast. Thanks for the memories.
Once upon a time, women were taught to settle down and maintain a quiet life. Support their husband, raise their children and take care of the home. Nothing more.
Betty Friedan explored this issue in her 1963 classic feminist text, The Feminine Mystique. She labelled it “the problem that has no name”.
The 1991 movie, Thelma and Louise completely destroyed the idea that a woman had to be meek, amiable and subservient. Louise (Susan Sarandon) works as a waitress and lives with her musician boyfriend who is always on the road. Thelma (Geena Davis) stays in the kitchen so her husband can watch football. Needing a break from their hum-drum lives, Thelma and Louise decide to go on a road trip. Their road trip takes a sudden turn when Louise kills the man who tries to rape Thelma and they are now hunted by the police.
This is nothing but a classic. The journey of the characters represents so many women who made the choice to cut the apron strings that kept them tied to hearth and home and take the road less traveled. And of course, no mention of Thelma and Louise is complete without Brad Pitt’s boy toy character and that six pack of his.
Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) are sisters who play on local baseball teams in their spare time during World War II. With the men away, Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) bankrolls a women’s baseball league. Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is the former ball player chosen to coach the team that Dottie and Kit are playing with. Their teammates include Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh).
The drama of the story is not just the women fighting for respect as ball players, but also the tension between the sisters.
After 22 years, this movie still holds up and is still an inspiration to girls who have been told no because they are girls.