More than a year ago, #femalefilmmakerfriday began as a campaign to share images of female filmmakers on social media. Directors shared photos working on set, both in response to the #TimesUp movement and as an effort to inspire the next generation of women. “If she can see it, she can be it,” was a common refrain on the posts.
The hashtag has continued, with some filmmakers committing to keep posting on Fridays to keep momentum and visibility up for the effort toward gender parity. I participated and found it to be a community building exercise, growing my list of women in the industry I wanted to follow and support. Additionally, I found it was empowering personally: to share images of myself on set – directing, producing, with my children, with my beloved colleagues on my nearly all-female sets. Presenting myself as a woman who is pressing forward in spite of the miserable grind to get noticed in the industry. While I am certainly hopeful it does inspire the next generation to see us, I actually needed the inspiration myself, a welcome and reassuring view into the largely underrepresented stories of women working in film. We have not disappeared, despite the statistics, and many of us have years of photos that no one has ever seen until now.
I have spent some time reflecting on how effective something like the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag might be at moving the needle on representation behind the camera. Are we shouting into an echo chamber? To some degree, yes, I think we are. However, I think we must not underestimate how powerful it is for us to have a method for identifying each other outside of the traditional channels. Yes, it’s still hard to get in. To get noticed. And while the gatekeepers have not changed significantly, what is changing is that we are finding each other, where before we felt largely alone in the “Boy’s Club”. Together, we get out of the line that is not meant for us. Together, we form our own rooms, circles, and support systems. Together, we DO move the needle on our own work.
The call to action is to champion each other in every way we can, in the press, on social media, in our hiring practices. I no longer take the lack of opportunities personally. I funnel that energy into demanding my community sees the warrior women who are out there creating.
Next Friday, search the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag and follow as many of the women posting as you can. Watch their work. Promote their work on your own social media. Add them to your ‘hip pocket’ list on Glass Elevator. Spend some of your weekly energy advocating for yourself, for women, and particularly women of color and trans women creators in your community. Take unabashed pride in the films you are making, have made, and see your peers making. Shout about them and celebrate the world you want to see. Get loud. Stay vigilant. Stay Inspired.