This year's Oscars can't seem to escape all sorts of politics, as a women's group puts Hollywood bias on display.
By Shana Ting Lipton, Special to The Times
February 26 2006
JUST when some may have thought that the 78th Annual Academy Awards could not get any more political, masked feminist arts crusaders better known as the Guerrilla Girls are trying to up the ante with some roadside commentary.
Near the northwest corner of Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards, just blocks from the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars will be held, drivers and passers-by see a transvestite King Kong towering above a building — on a highly provocative billboard, that is.
The gown-clad, lipstick-wearing Kong is depicted in chains, Oscar statuette in hand, next to the phrase: "Unchain the Women Directors!" The image — which costs $4,500 a month and will stay up until the day after the Oscars — was created and funded by 13 women's organizations, including Women in Film and the Fund for Women Artists.
The billboard cites these statistics: "Women directed only 7% of the top 200 films of 2005," and "No woman director has ever won the Oscar. Only 3 have been nominated."
Sporting gorilla masks and pseudonyms of deceased female artists, the Guerrilla Girls are a 20-plus-year-old global secret society that challenges the art and entertainment worlds to be female-friendly through creative campaigns and speeches. "We have figured out a way to take our anger and misery over the state of the world and make it not only fun for us but for other people too," said a founding member who goes by the name "Kathe Kollwitz."
The "Unchained" campaign marks the third attempt in an ongoing campaign to get Hollywood power players to take notice of the dearth of female directors. Despite gains for female studio executives, the only women nominated for Oscars for directing a feature film have been Lina Wertmüller (1976), Jane Campion (1993) and Sofia Coppola (2003).
In 2002, the Girls introduced the "Anatomically Correct Oscar," with a billboard depicting the statuette as a bald, hairy white male, "Just like the guys who win!" The Guerrilla Girls' last Los Angeles offensive came three years ago and featured an Oscar statuette with the face of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.). It claimed that even the U.S. Senate was more progressive than Hollywood, with 14% of senators being female versus 4% of directors.
However, this latest billboard has ruffled some academy feathers because it is the first to depict an Oscar — a trademarked image — sans caricature on an advertising billboard, yet the academy's response is "No comment."
It's been difficult to gauge reaction to the "Unchained" billboard. Guerrilla Girls' "Kollwitz" said she's heard backlash on conservative talk radio: "Some guy called up and said it was disgusting and that naturally women shouldn't be directors." Other responses have been more hopeful. Sebastian Dungan, a producer of "Transamerica," whose Felicity Huffman is nominated for an Academy Award for playing a transsexual, said: "The statistics are an undeniable sign of discrimination. I certainly want to be part of changing that."
And, in the true enterprising style of a producer, Dungan invites female directors to send him their scripts.
Anything doesnt go women's way and it is a conspiracy.....no need for proof.......forget that noise........the mere existence of an inequality of women to men is sufficient evidence of a de facto discrimination against women?????!??!??!??!?! and any imbalance toward women (against men) shall be ignored, justified, pooh poohed, and refused to be debated........
I was watching this skateboarding program the other day and they werre interviewing some professional women skateboarders........talking about the history of the evolution of the sport.......and then the inevitable male conspiracy theory juts out its ugly head........the big bad male skateboarders wouldnt let rudolpha play in any of their games.......boo hoo......we all should fell bad for her, she was forbidden (implied, not stated) from joining in the boys game........
if that werent the consparacy theory from hell, i dont know what is........some time ago, not too long ago.......there was no such thing as professional skateboarders..........mostly guys who had lots of creativity and little fear started a new sport from scratch, built up an interest and a following, they suffered often through years of obscurity, lack of recognition, little or no sponsorships, belittling by all the accepted sports and sport enthusiasts, mostly ignored by women, if not ostracized by them, and now the women want to co-opt them, now that that they have made it (found success, found an audience, developed a sport and sponsors and companies to provide the needed gear)......yup, the women who were quick to ignore and belittle the sport of skateboarding are now claiming they werent allowed there in the first place...........
hey ladies..........rather than getting mad at not having been included in somethign totally new, why not try inventing something new yourself.......
few women were on the cutting edge of skateboard development??????WHY
cuz they were excluded? or cuz they excluded themselves.....
women generally excluded themselevs from developing ALL the new EXTREME sports cuz there was no money in it, there was no glory, only pain and irrelevance, only sacrifice ..........
and what happened when interest and money followed the new sports? Now women became interested in knowing why the women were being excluded?
clearly, if women werent there, it must be because they were excluded by men and boys, not because they self selected out of such activities that in the past had seemed like wasted time, but was now a possibly lucrative opportunity.......
women love to say how much men waste time (or how lazy we are), when the reality is most men who may appear lazy at any given time, are really either A) recharging their batteries in anticipation of some big event, test, exam, etc (like moving acorss country-me) B) inventing something new that will benefit society (there was a time when men were valued for inventing things, not merely villified for creating global warming)