​Shit People Say to Women Directors

There’s a tumblr about shit people say to women directors. The Guardian says so.

The site, which launched on 22 April and is causing a storm among film industry insiders, especially women, is a catalog of anonymous stories about the sexist things that happen to women working on film sets.

One female director was asked by a male agent: “How did you get so far so fast, besides the fact that you give good head?” One male director told a female crew member: “I can’t work with someone I want to fuck. It messes with my head.” A male writer told his female assistant: “You are a terrible assistant; why don’t you go back to working in porn where you belong?”

The film industry is like the world of popular sport (not archery or bowls but football and boxing) – it’s so popular and powerful it can do whatever the fuck it wants to. It wants to exclude and insult women? It can, because it’s so popular and powerful.

There is also a litany of complaints about women being told they can’t direct action, informed that a show’s “female and minority slots” are full, and crews rebelling against women or telling women how to do their jobs.

“Shit People Say To Women Directors is a collective diary for women to flush away all of the appalling bullshit we’ve been handed over the years while trying to make a living in film,” say the creators of the site, who have chosen to remain anonymous and would only submit to an interview by email. “Our hope was for women to let off a little steam while shining a light on a pervasive problem … What we did not anticipate, however, was the overwhelming amount of submissions we got from the public. We received a year’s worth of content literally overnight.”

I guess I know what I’m going to be reading for the next several weeks.

Dr Martha M Laurzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, doesn’t think that this Tumblr will have a major effect on the struggles women face in Hollywood. “My impression is that any industry with such heavily skewed gender ratios is unlikely to be cowed by this sort of public outing,” she says. “That said, I do think the remarks on the blog add personal testimony to the substantial quantitative evidence indicting the mainstream film industry for its steadfast sexism.”

Well, there is such a thing as the law. The heavily skewed gender ratio is…how can I put this tactfully…against the fucking law, and public outrage can indeed prompt enforcement of existing laws.

The regrets about speaking out are why the creators of Shit People Say to Women Directors decided to keep all submissions to the site, and themselves, anonymous. “Women have been cowed into silence over these issues for fear of being further shut out, marginalized and denied networking opportunities after being labeled ‘whistle blowers’ or ‘difficult,’” they say.

The anonymity of the site, ironically, is making it easier for women to talk about the issue. “If other people are bringing it up, that’s good for me because I don’t sound like I have a chip on my shoulder,” Rodriguez says. “We all go through it. We’ve all been directed to the hair and makeup trailer. We’ve all been micromanaged by male producers. It’s good to have that out there so that people can see what it’s really like.”

As the site has grown and gotten more popular, words of encouragement from both men and women have poured in and men have started to share their own stories about the awful things members of their gender have done on sets.

Movie industry, we’re coming to get you.


  1. iknklast says

    Stage isn’t much better, unfortunately, though women are forcing the stage door a bit. Women writers are told that people don’t want to go to plays written by women, because women write about women. (Which is not always true, but so what?). This in spite of the fact that women make up the largest percentage of theatre ticket buyers, and that plays by women make more money, on average, than plays by men.

    I have been very amused in my playwriting collective, where we all get together and work on developing our plays, that there is one man who has never found a woman character written by a woman “believable”. Women don’t really talk like that. Women don’t really act like that. Spoken by the (male) voice of wisdom, who has never been a woman, and may possibly never have actually listened to a woman.

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