Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 324 Year 2: I’m pretty much in love with Cathryn Michon and her muffin top right now. Not sure who she is? Or what a “muffin top” is? Well, let me enlighten you. A muffin top is code for the roll of fat that spills over the waistline of tight (or in my case any) pants. Cathryn Michon is a super funny and talented actress, comedienne, writer and film director. Oh, and, did I mention brave? Freakishly, inspiringly brave. ALL CAPS kinda brave. I wasn’t familiar with her work until I ran across a tweet about her Kickstarter campaign on Twitter that caught my attention. And I’m not afraid to admit that even though I’d never seen or read any of her work before—she had me at, “Hi, I’m Cathryn Michon, and this is my fat.”
I’ve noticed a lot of crowd funding campaigns lately that aren’t about actually making the movie or even finishing post-production. They are about distributing the movie. Considering the distribution model has drastically shifted in the last few years and it has gotten harder and harder to get a film into an actual movie theatre, I’m not surprised by this trend. Cathryn and her team have already shot and completed their film. She has a funny trailer full of a great cast (and a cute dog) and is poised to share her movie with the world at large. But, there’s one glitch. She has a very specific agenda with how she wants to do it. Her Kickstarter pitch—as to why it is so important for her film to have a Red Carpet “Girls’ Night Out” Premiere Tour across the country—is, “to put chicks back in flicks.” Hell yes! She’s speaking my language.
The stats on women in front of and behind the camera in the film industry are depressing. I also recently discovered Melissa Silverstein’s work—she created, writes for and curates the blog Women and Hollywood—and she keeps me painfully aware of that reality with every article of hers I read. According to the US Census Bureau Women make up 50.8% of the population. But in 2011 women made up only 5% of the film directors in Hollywood. And, according to a 2013 study from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication women were grossly underrepresented in films in 2012. Less than 30% of speaking roles in movies went to women and when they are on screen about 31% are sexed up or practically naked. Hollywood still perpetuates the trope that it’s a man’s world.
No, a feminist rant is not required. But action is. It’s time to act. It’s time to create change. It’s time to share the screen and consciously put chicks back in flicks. What can you do? Support women in film! Write complicated female characters. Pass the Bechdel Test—it’s surprisingly not that hard, just ask the Swedes. And most importantly, don’t forget that women make up almost 51% of the population—be nice.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…a muffin top to love.