Skirts & Rods

I watched a movie trailer yesterday and first it made me sad, then I was inspired, and then I was angry. As my husband said, it's nothing we don't already know, and he's right - but how do we solve the problem? He could start by rubbing my feet every single night. For an hour. Per foot.

For some time now I've pondered the issue of women not being taken seriously - in whatever role they may be in - and I still can't figure out where this attitude comes from. Is it a place of deep insecurity (in men), that there may be a fear that they really aren't all that necessary? Except for the occasional sperm sample, there's nothing women need from men that we can't supply ourselves. Friendship? Check. Emotional support? Check. Moving furniture? No problem.

I don't know. I've thought about it but have never discussed it in-depth with any men I know, though I welcome the opportunity. I have spent years observing and experiencing the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) sexism that exists everywhere, every day. Like in meetings when the boss man keeps explaining the simplest things to me, as if I arrived on the short bus wearing my bra on top of my shirt. Or when my father can so casually and callously dismiss my political views simply because he can't understand the importance of wanting control over my own body. Though that could also be a result of the parent/child dynamic that often never changes - no matter how old I get, I may always be the silly little girl who loves to play with cats and dolls. Which is still true. So what. Shut up.

But watching this video I was reminded of the interview I watched with Leslie Stahl and Felicity Huffman, when Leslie asked Felicity if having children was the most important thing she'd ever done in her life. Huffman seemed shocked and emphatically said no. It was great to see Stahl taken aback by the answer. First of all, would anyone ever ask that question of a man? Second, what do her children have to do with her acting career? Third, who is advising Stahl on her jewelry? Sorry, was that catty?

Which brings me to the other side of this dirty coin - the way women attack each other. We can be the worst. While still in the corporate world it was common to see crazy, backstabbing behavior among female coworkers, desperate to protect their jobs from ambitious young upstarts. The sad reality is that the more we tear each other down and compete with each other, the more we lose. The more we help each other, the better we all do.

The other thing that struck me was the need for mentorship - the utter lack and very desperate need for it. I'm still looking for female mentors and I'm of the age where I might be able to be one. When I went back to school recently I thought for sure I would find someone that wanted to take an interest in my work and be a source of support or guidance. No one even wanted to look at my portfolio - not even my advisors.

I did find one instructor during my last semester who seemed to understand the work I like to do and was hugely supportive in encouraging me to continue on that path. The funny thing was, my final project in her class was photographs of photographs I'd already made over the past several years. I finally got someone to look at my portfolio, but I had to rephotograph it first. It was wonderful confirmation that I'd been on the right path all along. Still, I wished there were a culture of mentorship and support but it just isn't there.

At any rate, we have a long way to go to solving this troubling issue. I have to say, it definitely made me think about how I'm photographing dolls and if I, too, am contributing to the problem. Donna might have to clean up her act a little and get a job.

Please watch. Then get thee to a screening.