THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Melissa Silverstein Headshot

The Fempire: Women Supporting Women

Posted: Updated:
Print

The NY Times in a Style section piece yesterday reported this bizarro notion that there are women screenwriters in Hollywood that support and root for each other. Shocking. I first heard about the group last fall during the Toronto Film Festival where the Fempire went and supported Lorene Scafaria at her premiere of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Here's my piece.

The piece has gotten a lot of differing reactions. Here are my thoughts:

Overall, I'm thrilled about the Fempire. It's clearly needed especially in light of the fact that only 12% of films are written by women. It's also smart. Writing can be very lonely and it's great that these women have each other. It's also cool that they have added a new member to the group since Toronto who they are mentoring.

The article was in the Style section which we all know is code word for women. It technically belonged more in the Arts & Leisure section but honestly, who really reads that anymore? It is so irrelevant and Style section piece are always longer and more interestingly written. Just admit it, you all read the Style section way before the Arts & Leisure. Right?

Here are some of the problems. The title- An Entourage of Their Own. I watch Entourage and these women are no entourage. It's a cool name but these women are not granted access because they work for a star. They are the stars. The term is misleading and demeaning. Better would have been- A League of Their Own.

The biggest issue that people are having with the piece is the sexualized nature of it and how these women use their sexuality. Be real. This is Hollywood and they are young and cute. They're also not stupid, and know that being young and cute is a huge boon to their careers. In this world the stories just don't speak for themselves, the storytellers are part of it, especially for women.

Screenwriters usually don't have stylists or publicists, yet the women said they feel pressure to look photogenic in a way that is not demanded of male screenwriters.

People are jealous of them. There are tons of Diablo Cody haters. People hate her because they begrudge her success and because she flaunts it. She came from nothing and now she's rich. It's a tad unseemly in these times, but she worked hard for it. She would have nothing if her film hadn't resonated with people all across the country and had been a huge hit. She tapped into the zeitgeist which is what all screenwriters are desperate to do.

The thing I admire about her and her posse is that they don't give a shit about what others think of them. They are successful women and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Isn't that what feminism was about?

Do I wish that the sexuality stuff was not a part of these women's stories? Sure. Do I wish that the entire beginning of the NY Times piece would have talked about their films instead of what they looked like? Yup. But being a dancer in a strip club is part of Diablo's backstory and it will never go away. I'm not going to let the sex talk stop me from admiring that these women are friends, real friends, and they are fighting against a difficult culture that does a damn good job of pitting women against each other.

"There are so few slots for us in Hollywood," Ms. Cody said. "Sometimes you hear the lobsters-in-a-pot metaphor -- if the lobsters cooperated, they could get each other out. We're cooperating. We refuse to just lie there and boil."

I want them to be successful. I want them to be able to write films that are not regressive chick flicks and have enough power to get them produced. As of right now the body of work between the women is mixed. I liked Juno and even though I haven't seen Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, I actually want to. But I had no interest in seeing Dana Fox's The Wedding Date or What Happens in Vegas.

But who knows what going to happen to the Fempire? I think it's going to be really interesting to watch how they grow cause the list of high profile screenwriters is really short, and the fact that there is a couple of young women on it is exciting. I hope that as they gain power they will have more freedom to write more feminist type stories. So as I said before, long live the Fempire.

originally posted at Women & Hollywood