Women Behind the Camera
I have so much respect for everyone in this movie. I thought I knew a lot of women directors and/or cinematographers, but I definitely saw so many pioneers that I had never heard of until today. I really enjoyed the wide variety of types of footage compiled in WBtC. It reminded me of making a documentary about my own life. Most importantly, it's very wonderfully symbolic to pull together all of these different stocks, stuff on VHS, and new interviews done on a sparkley mini DV camera to create a portrait of the experiences of so many different people. I loved seeing the intersections of identity articulated by each woman. The context of this piece is something I was pretty familiar with already-- and it was not surprising to hear of the extreme sexism and discrimination in the film industry that was there in the beginning and is definitely still present. These stories did, however, lead me in some interesting directions personally.
My "therapist" keeps encouraging me to think about how I will function in academia and professional life as a queer, trans person (ie. myself the way I've already been for quite sometime, but in a body that is safe for me and approved by multiple therapists and doctors). This is one of my "therapist's" functions as my gatekeeper: to make sure that I am comfortable being myself for the rest of my life. I think. I already know that wherever I go there will *almost* always be someone who is going to question or disrespect the way I choose to identify. I may well experience a lot of the discrimination that women filmmakers have and do if I am identified a female bodied person, present or past. And I will probably make a lot of people [cisgendered men (in public restrooms)] uncomfortable. I certainly still have plenty of privilege as a white person, and that is something I continue to work with as an anti-racist. The thing I keep coming back to is: who's going to do these things if I don't? It's like working on a group project-- I can't trust anyone else to get it done. I know of one trans-masculine person out there (prolifically) producing personal video projects, his name is Jordy Jones. I know of one fictional film featuring trans-masculine lead characters, it is "By Hook or By Crook."
I'm thinking back to "I Was a Teenage Feminist" and the woman who noted something like "Asking me if I'm a feminist is like asking me if I'm black." And it makes me think "How can I function in academia and the 'professional world' if I'm NOT queer, trans, and pushing boundaries?"