Female Artists, Now is the Time for Your Voices

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This is not a political post. This is not a political post. I repeat, this is not a political post. This post is a call to action. As Ms. In The Biz moves on to a new phase as an archived resource that can be perused for years to come (I for one am excited to finally catch up on all the incredible tools and advice that have come into the world through this collaboration), I reflect on how empowering the site has been in my own process of reclaiming my voice as a media artist. When I started writing for this magazine, I felt small and boxed in. I felt as a woman I was pigeonholed. My experiences in Los Angeles had been disempowering, and I needed the support of other incredible, expansive women artists to pull me out of my place of victimhood and inaction. Today I feel empowered as an actress, writer, producer, and director. I see myself as an artist, as an equal, deserving of every opportunity, and I’m willing to stand up for myself to work harder to achieve my goals. I am willing to be myself in the world, rather than trying to conform to what I am “supposed” to be.

In these turbulent and uncertain times, our voices as artists are more important than ever. It is up to us to bring people together through our stories. Our stories have the power to unite, to create understanding of the “other” the “different” the “disenfranchised” and even to bring humanity to the “enemy”. In a world of uncertainty, art is a grounding center, a place for our voices to be heard and a place for us to come together. Art is a bridge, art is the vehicle for humanity to understand itself. There is something about witnessing stories unfold outside of your own personal struggles that allows you to feel compassion and to experience catharsis.

So, I call on all of you women out there to share your stories. I call on all of us to speak loudly, to speak clearly, and to be equal in an industry that still has many inequalities. It is time that we take our seats as female creators, because our voices must be heard, now, more than ever. As the world changes, we must be there to add to the dialogue. We have much perspective and wisdom. We can see the world through many lenses and many perspectives, so our voices are valuable in creating connection and unity in a world that feels polarized and partisan.

So I call on all female media makers to step up our efforts as creators. Make loud art. Make proud art. Make art that connects us to each other, make art in protest, make art with hope, with joy and freedom. As artists, our time has come. We must be the voices of our world. We must carry ourselves with dignity and equality even when we feel attacked, even if we feel threatened. Now is the time to hold your head high and to proclaim your place in the world. To claim your identity as a creator, as an actor, writer, director, artist. Do not be afraid, do not step back. Now we can bravely step into our place, into the paths we have chosen, into the big feelings that are happening collectively. You can do it. I believe in you and I believe in us. Female artists, our time has come.

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Madeline Merritt

About Madeline Merritt

Actress, Freelance Writer - Madeline grew up on stage and has loved telling stories her whole life. From the Bay Area, California, Madeline received her degree in Theatre and Political Science from Northwestern University and moved to Los Angeles in 2008. She recently spent a year in Paris, France but missed the city of Angels and the entertainment industry here. She cares deeply about social issues, including women’s rights, indigenous rights, poverty and the environment. She feels the role of storyteller through entertainment is very important in opening dialogue and creating change in the world. You can see her in The Guest House (available on Netflix, Itunes, Amazon and Time Warner on Demand) and the soon to be released American Idiots, coming to a Redbox near you in June 2013. She is thrilled to continue her journey of collaborating with women in film and television through Ms. In the Biz.