Suffragette focuses on the story of infamous feminist icon Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) and her friendship with Maud (Carey Mulligan), a working-class wife and mother who joins the Suffragette movement against her husband’s will.
The drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.
These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing.
Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives.
Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.
The movie’s crew will be the first in history to be granted permission from Members of Parliament to shoot inside the Houses of Parliament.
Hollywood is a broken industry. It is sexist, racist and queerphobic whether outright (in comments from directors and casting agents that just don’t cast or consider women, people of colour or LGBT people for roles) or behind closed doors (in the way it fails to portray their stories and protests ‘creative license!’ when called out for it).
Rather unsurprisingly, the industry is also incredibly ageist as it either ignores the stories of mature people or pigeonholes them into background grandparent roles unbefitting of actors who have headlined Hollywood’s finest projects throughout their careers.
And of course by “mature people” I of course mean women. No one tuts or mutters under their breath about Harrison Ford, wondering how on Earth his aging body was able to portray and action hero in Cowboys & Aliens at the ripe old age of 73, nor do they wonder how he’ll be able to handle a lightsaber in the upcoming Star Wars movie and by the time that’s released, he’ll be 77. ‘My what a career he’s had’, they’ll say continuing to praise him like not a single wrinkle has graced his forehead, meanwhile, they ask of Meryl Streep ‘my what a career she’s had, but isn’t it time to retire now?’ before following it up with some comment about her appearance.
Hollywood’s ageism problem has come up most recently with comedian Amy Schumer’s skit titled ‘Last F—kable Day’ in which Schumer stumbles upon a party being held by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey. All of them are well-known, talented names but in the skit they recognise that they each have their final ‘f—kable’ day in which the media tosses them aside, no longer finding them attractive or desirable in any way. Once they hit that age, they agree, their sexual appeal ups and leaves.
Much like the rest of Amy’s skits, which she creates for her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, she offers a tongue in cheek look at hard hitting subjects and clearly this is no different. But it’s not just a talking point; it’s something that’s actively putting a stop to the careers of many talented mature women and it’s also robbing us – the audience – of fantastic stories. We don’t just want to see mature women playing bit part grannies and elderly parent extras, we want them robbing from the government like Diane Keaton in Mad Money, or Kate Walsh embracing her rebellious streak in Bad Judge or Viola Davis as the unapologetic, no-nonsense lawyer at the centre of How to Get Away With Murder’s mysteries.
But change won’t come unless it’s encouraged from the top, says Marta Kauffman, a writer on Friends and the co-creator of Netflix show Grace and Frankie, which features Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two rivals whose husbands want to run away with each other.
Speaking to The Huffington Post, Kauffman explains that “we definitely need more [women] behind the scenes. When we were looking for lists of directors, there were so few directors that were women, compared to how many men there are. With show-runners too, there are a lot more than there were, but we’re still underrepresented”.
However, even though Kauffman has gone out of her way to hire female directors and writers, Grace and Frankie is just one show and Hollywood should still be embarrassed by the numbers – just 9% of directors in Hollywood are women and elsewhere behind the scenes, men outweigh women by five to one.
Also helping is the aforementioned Meryl Streep who recently made headlines for funding a writer’s lab for women over 40. The lab, called ‘Writers Lab’, will be run by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS which is a female filmmaker collective.
Writers Lab “evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development” and will hope to get more women into employment both behind and in front of the camera.
But even then, more work needs to be done. There are significant roadblocks in terms of high-profile opinions, such as Russell Crowe blaming a lack of mature women in the media on their wishes to be portrayed as the ‘ingénue’ and others that agree with him. But by supporting female-led productions and by championing the stories of all women of all ages, backgrounds, races and sexualities, Hollywood’s bigwigs will be forced to take notice and we’ll see a better more diverse world of media soon enough.
Patricia Arquette, who won the Best Supporting Actress award at last night’s Oscars, is feeling the heat this morning. The Boyhood actress, who received a standing ovation from fellow nominee Meryl Streep as she called for equality for women, didn’t get the same reaction from fans on Twitter.
Backstage she went on to elaborate further on her comments, arguing that it’s time people of colour and the LGBTI community to fight for women’s rights, like women have fought for theirs.
“It is time for women – equal means equal. And the truth is, the older women get, the less money they make. The more children… the highest percentage of children living in poverty are female-headed households.
And it’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t… one of those Superior Court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university ‘We don’t have equal rights for women in America and we don’t because when they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women’.
So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of colour that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”
The reason for the criticism, is that many believe she ignored the unique struggles of women who are from ethnic minorities and LGBT with her comments, especially when she then went on to ask for gay people and people of colour to join the fight.
What she failed to recognise is this is a battle many are already facing, but I guess she did bring the debate to table and shine a massive spotlight on something that needs to be said.
Women still get the rough deal, be they gay, bi, ethnic, mothers, grandmothers, daughters… young or old. It is still a tough society to live in, and as a collective we all need to fight as one. Its hard to make changes as individuals, but unified we can do anything.
Patricia Arquette last night picked up the first Academy Award for supporting actress in Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age story, Boyhood.
Arquette, who plays the mother of Ellar Coltrane’s Mason in the film, which deals in real world emotions about what it means to go through life and be a women.
In her acceptance speech, Arquette dedicated her Oscar to American women, and ended with a powerful call to action.
“To every woman who gave birth to every citizen and taxpayer of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
And with that she brought Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez to their feet, and Twitter exploded with support.
In Boyhood, Patricia plays the mother to the main character, and throughout the nearly three-hour film, the audience sees her withstand the tribulations of single motherhood, divorce and domestic abuse.
Her role is touching, funny and without question worthy of the Oscar that it just garnered
Arquette, who also won the Golden Globe in the same category, beat out Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone and Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for an Academy Award a record 19 times.
Sandra Bullock is a German-American actress. She took acting classes with Sanford Meisner in New York and performed in a few off-Broadway plays. Early in her career, Bullock was the indie film darling. Her star-making role was that of Annie Porter from the 1994 action film Speed. Since then, she has starred in a number of box office hit romantic comedies and dramas, growing to hold the 2012 Guinness World Record for highest-paid actress.
She has won multiple Golden Globe awards, won an Oscar award for “Best Actress” and a Razzie award for “Worst Actress” in the same year. She is only the second actress to accept a Razzie award in the thirty-year history of this particular awards ceremony.
In accepting her Academy award for The Blind Side, she thanked…
What this film was about for me, which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children, no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, fail to thank one.”
She went on to thank her deceased mother for…
Reminding her daughters that there’s no race, to religion, no class system, no colour—nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love.”
On a more light-hearted note, Bullock also mentioned Meryl Streep in her speech as “the best kisser”, alluding to a skit that she and the famous Streep had played for the 2010 Golden Globes Critics Choice Awards. The two acted out a vocal feud over the Best Actress nomination and award, which ended with Bullock striding towards Streep and pulling her face in for a quick but decisive mouth-to-mouth snog. The two embraced… “Meryl is a good kisser,” Bullock stated.
In addition to acting, Sandra Bullock is an activist for environmentalism and relief efforts for natural disasters.
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Kitsch Mix, is a rapidly growing social platform developed to promote the diverse creative ventures of women in the LGBT community. It aims to chronicle and celebrate the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring all of us, ranging in topics from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.
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