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Using Your Sex as an Excuse


The outcry for equality is now deafening. It’s an awesome sound, which makes me want to sing Katy Perry’s “Roar” at the top of the Swiss Alps like Julie Andrews. I’ve heard many filmmakers, males and females alike, state that right now is the perfect time to be a female director. We are on the cusp of something wonderful! Granted I’m still waiting for that big blockbuster director job offer, but it’ll come.

In the meantime, I continue to freelance in production and do what I need to and pay the bills. Recently, I cast a print job. The shoot was wonderful with a short 6-hour day and everyone received above scale. I’d say everyone was pretty happy. Some times goes by and I inquire with the models if they’ve received their checks. A couple had and a couple had not. So, I made a list and send it out to the company inquiring about the missing checks. All but one was being processed: “The name on the W9 and the Invoice don’t match. Can you please have her send the paperwork again with her legal name on both documents?”

Piece of cake. Get the new paperwork and she gets a check, easy peasy… Or so I thought.

This simple request, unknowingly to me, opened a can of worms so big it would turn off a sturgeon! I will simplify the worms for you via bullet points:

  • She resent the same exact paperwork. (Note: She used her stage name on the invoice and used her legal name on the W9.)
  • I made the request again, clarifying to put the invoice in her legal name to match the W9.
  • Her reply: “I’m confused…”
  • Before I’ve a chance to reply she send another email: “I do not want to be a problem here” and then threatens that she will take me to the labor board if not paid within the next 24 hours.

The Labor Board threat was the last straw for me after she bombarded my email with rant after rant. I simply ignored her emails and wrote back the accounting department telling them to send it to whomever. I don’t care. I will never hire her again.

I write her back and state: “The check is in the mail. If you have any other issues, you will need to contact accounting directly”. I wash my hands of the whole ordeal.

The next day I receive a sicky sweet email thanking me for trying to get her paid and half apologizing for her rude behavior stating: “sometimes frustration gets the best of us”. If this conversation was over the phone or in person, I would understand a little more of a knee jerk reaction but the beauty of email is that we can write what we feel and think, walk away, and make the better decision of rewording and softening language before pressing SEND.

My first draft was sharply written and I never thought of actually sending it. Yet, with a cool head, I decided to state my thoughts professionally and clearly in the hope she would learn from the experience and not do this to anyone else and ended my letter with: “That is MY frustration getting the better of me.” SEND.

Then the single sentence reply, which left me speechless:

Carrie, we both are females and that says it all 🙂

Never in all my life have I used my gender as an excuse for my behavior. It’s as if a boyfriend had just asked during a fight, “Are you on the rag?” It’s a crude and a horrible question to ask any woman. For if I were having my menstrual cycle, in his mind, it would relieve him of any and all responsibility for said offend-able act! And her response is the same. She is using her gender as an excuse rather than the gift powerful gift it is!

Lets take the function of our sexual organs out all together and ask the question, “What separates women from men?” Business Insider lists 12 reasons why women are more effective leaders including taking initiative, displaying high integrity and honesty, develops and inspires others. The BBC reports on a study which proves that women are better at multitasking because they are more organized, and men are “slower” (their words, not mine). Women live longer because they eat healthier which gives them a better immune systems and are not afraid to go to the doctor. James Flynn, who is a world-renowned expert in IQ testing, stated that women are smarter, and who am I to disagree with an expert? Women have a higher threshold for pain, watch this or this video as a man tries to endure the pains of childbirth. Shall I go on?!

Where is the weakness in any of those traits? Where is the excuse for treating someone poorly who is trying to help you? And why in the world is a woman making this excuse? She is setting herself back decades in the fight for equality, which is what we are all trying desperately to balance! AND, she’s trying to take me down with her by connecting the fact that we are women! NO! I blame my Italian blood for my fiery temper. I thank my estrogen for my drive and determination. I blame the industry for its male dominance. I thank my femininity for my creative and organized nature.

If she wanted to connect with me, she should have done it on a Katy Perry level and belted out a verse or two. I would have happily joined in and let bygones be bygones. But now, I write to all of you and ask you to join me in celebrating the awesomeness that it is being a woman… while we continue to wait for Warners, Sony, Paramount or Universal to call us with our multi-million dollar directing deals.


*photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

Carrie Certa

About Carrie Certa

Carrie Certa worked on six independent films her most recent Line Producing gig had her in Ethiopia. Horror film “Bit Parts”, a political mockumentary “A New Tomorrow”, comedies "Target Audience 9.1" and "What If People Died", and the action thriller “Circadian Rhythm”, which had her working alongside Seymour Cassel, Jonathan Banks, Rachel Miner and David Anders. In 2009, she made her directorial début with “SpyForLove” which landed her a Best Comedy Short nomination at her first festival showing. Since then she’s had a modicum of success with her other shorts “Smiley” and “Undisconnected” which was nominated for Best in the Fest and winner of Best Director. She has also won numerous awards for her writing with her dramatic script “Life After”.