About two months ago I was asked to create a short video that would state, “ I AM A FEMINIST, WE ARE ALL FEMINISTS”. It would be used to help with the promotion of a new documentary, FEMINISTS – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? I chuckled upon this request as I come from a long line of “feminists” and I would only be stating “the obvious”. After all, my family was known to have strong minded women, who are progressive with our thought and believe in equality, etc. So, making this declarative video was a “no brainer” for me.
BUT.. then I got thinking. Isn’t EVERYONE a “feminists”? Surely, there can’t be too many of my contemporaries that believe women should be “June Cleaver” and not have much of a role outside of the home? Or that if all else is equal that a man should be given a job- “just because”.
Let the research begin... So I decided to delve into this topic. Recalling where I was in the 1960’s when the feminist movement was really getting some power. And how DIFFERENT it would have been if social media was available! This is what I learned:
1- Most teens these days don’t realize that there was a time where women were not considered capable of tackling jobs that were traditionally given to men.
2- Most teens these days are confused as to why female students were not allowed to dress in pants, let alone jeans, in public schools. And how those rules didn’t change for me, at least, until the 1970’s!
3- Many teens these days are unfamiliar with what exactly transpired during the feminist movement and are unfamiliar with names such as Betty Freidan or Gloria Steinam.
So that our youth DON’T forget the hard fought battle women (and men) conducted to be sure that all had equal opportunities.
Then there is a question that still bugs me… why are women NOT paid in the workplace what a man is paid? In fact, many women are paid only 2/3 of the salary of a man. Say what??
As an educator, a woman and a mom to a grown daughter, I believe it is my responsibility to help our youth learn about the feminist movement from a historical and contemporary perspective. To do that I interviewed Johanna Demetrakas, the director and spirit behind the documentary- FEMINISTS WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! Johanna is a fascinating woman who knows her “stuff” when it comes to filmmaking! She clearly wants to preserve the historical aspects of the Feminists movement in a legacy film reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s SHOAH Foundation. What I found fascinating with Johanna is that she truly believes that the Feminist movement didn’t start in the 1960’s but at the start of World War II when women went to work in the place of men. This Johanna strongly cites was the catalyst for change in the societal role of women. Instead of being only a person who cared for home and family, women in the 1940’s were made an integral part of the workforce and demonstrated their extreme capabilities far beyond making the perfect apple pie!
That is what I believe has been Johanna’s vision for making this movie. She wants to tell a story so that people don’t forget or minimize the importance of the Feminist Movement.
Below Johanna and I discuss the catalyst for the movie
Now for the film specifics. First, it brings together voices past and present of known leaders in the Feminist Movement. The filmmakers had this to say about the “why” behind the making of this film:
In the late ‘70s, Cynthia MacAdams, an actress turned photographer, was roaming the streets of Los Angeles and New York photographing women. She did it, she said, becausesomething new was happening in women and she wanted to see if it showed up in photographs. Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman, Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Kate Millett, Patti Smith, Michelle Phillips, Judy Chicago, Marisol Escobar, Meredith Monk stopped what they were doing and looked into her lens. And many others, whose names and faces may not be so familiar but their struggle is–they stopped and looked too. And out of it came abook called EMERGENCE.
The film is currently in production but in need of a financial infusion of support. To help go to KICKSTARTER at this LINK. Join me in supporting this project! You will be glad you did!
Continue the conversation and follow all the news by using the hashtag #Feminists_WWTT if you are on TWITTER.