Jodie Foster is no stranger to the limelight but while many know her for her incredible acting talents (she’s won two Oscars during her career) or her sexuality (she officially came out during a speech at the 2013 Golden Globes) she’s also a director.
Foster has directed episodes for Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange is the New Black and political thriller House of Cards, work which saw her receive Emmy and Director’s Guild Award nominations.
But as a female director who has had her work recognised, Foster is one of few. Hollywood has a serious problem with the representation of women in front of the camera (roles are not substantial, female characters don’t get fair treatment and women often play second fiddle to men) but there’s also a massive issue with the treatment of women behind the camera too. For example, only four women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Oscar and only one (Kathryn Bigelow, who directed The Hurt Locker) has ever won.
With stats like that it’s no wonder that so many women choose not to go into the profession – would you want to do work and then be consistently overlooked for awards, just because of your gender? Jodie Foster feels that it’s time for change and now, she’s spoken out.
Accepting the Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award at the Athena Film Festival last week, Foster explained that:
“When I was growing up in the film business, I never saw a woman’s face. Sometimes it was the lady who played my mom. Or occasionally it would be a makeup artist. But most often it would really just be me and the script supervisor. And little by little, as time went on, a few female faces started coming onto crews. And it changed everything. There aren’t enough women directors and hopefully that will change. And perhaps that will change with this next generation.”
One of the main reasons why people have called for more female directors isn’t just because of equality but because having more female directors can change the sorts of media we see. For example, if a female director is at the helm of a project, the movie or TV show is a lot less likely to be biased against its female characters and we’ll find ourselves less and less frustrated with portrayals of women that paint us all as ‘bitches’ or ‘sluts’.
Furthermore, we would also be gifted with media that comes from other perspectives. We have lots of stereotypically ‘macho’ movies at the box office, but wouldn’t it be nice to see that same story with a twist? Wouldn’t it be nice to see more varied stories at the box office other than the various heroes of The Avengers in various world-saving scenarios?
More diversity is never a bad thing so as Jodie Foster herself said, hopefully this will change soon.