Girls fight back against the stereotypical ‘pink toy aisle’

By Harlen Leonard

A new video has caused storm in cyberspace. Whatever could it be? Could it be women doing sport in heels? Dustin Hoffman crying over his once shallow views on women? Lil Bub‘s Birthday?

Actually, all of these videos have been causing a bit of a fuss, but The What I See Project team has fallen in love with this campaign.

The video below shows a group of young girls rebelling against stereotypical ‘girly toys’ (we even see a pair of ballet pumps get nailed to a skateboard to improve balance) and storm the ‘pink aisle’ of a local toy shop. I’m particularly impressed by their ‘Not Just a Princess’ T-shirts covered in dirt and grease.

The advert comes from GoldieBlox, a toy designed to get girls interested in engineering, and clearly shows that gender stereotypes need to be a thing of the past. This video is hilarious, full of emotion, and reminds me of being a young pink-hating girl!

The GoldieBlox YouTube description reads: “The odds are against us. We’ve been told that GoldieBlox can’t survive in mass stores next to Barbie. Convention says that engineering toys for girls are a ‘niche’ for the affluent and for the Internet. Together, we must prove convention wrong.”

I, for one, think that this advert and toy could not have come sooner.

BlondieBox gives young girls a chance to explore engineering at an early age. At last! A toy and advert for all the girls that hate the ‘pink toy aisle’ and prefer protective goggles over Barbie-branded sunglasses. Hurrah!

Advertisements

Women and Hollywood: A Review of the WFTV Discussion

By Marése O’Sullivan

The perception of women in Hollywood is fraught with judgement and jealousy.

Even now, women in the film and television industry are being sized up not on their talent, but on their appearance.

Why are studios determining the right person for the job based on their sex? Since when are women not trusted to lead a big-budget movie? And why are the top ten grossing movies of all time all directed by men?

Last week, the Women in Film and Television UK (WFTV) organisation led a discussion on the current status of women in Hollywood. From actors, to writers, to producers, to editors, we heard the hard-hitting facts: women still do not exert the kind of power in the industry that men do. Right now, under 30% of behind-the-scenes and front-of-camera roles are filled by women.

WFTV_banner2

Most of the women in the film and television industry are known for their acting success, but not behind the scenes.

Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood blogger and author of In Her Voice, took to the stage to debate these figures. She is about to celebrate the sixth anniversary of her blog and is a co-director of the Athena Film Festival. She questioned the lack of female CEOs for the six major film studios in the U.S. – Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros Pictures – with only one, Warner Bros, boasting a woman as a co-executive.

ms_author_small

Melissa Silverstein, author of In Her Voice, and guest speaker at the WFTV event.

Melissa explained how Hollywood works, indicating its focus on the opening weekend and on earning the highest gross possible, and revealed: “It’s all about the money, not all about the movie.”

Women are not seen as a market by Hollywood, she said, nor apparently does Hollywood believe that women go to see films. This illusion directly contrasts with data published by the Motion Picture Association of America, which revealed that, in 2012, women actually attended more films than men.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.13.57

She remarked that a woman’s story is just as important to be told as a man’s story, but that doesn’t seem to have clicked with the film industry yet, because female success is generally believed to be a fluke.

Producing is a far more popular career for women in the industry – but if only 19% of screenwriters of British films and 15% of UK directors are women, it’s clearly time for a change.

“In 2006, less than a dozen of the 307 films eligible for Oscars were women-driven,” Melissa told us. “Only three women have directed a film with a budget of over $100 million. Those films were animated.”

kung fu premiere 5 050611

Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director of Kung Fu Panda 2. Image from Hollywood Reporter.

220px-Kung_Fu_Panda_2_Poster

40th Annual Annie Awards - Arrivals

Brenda Chapman, co-director and screenwriter of Brave. Image from MailOnline.

image11

Brave. Image from Disney.

still-of-bibo-bergeron,-vicky-jenson-and-rob-letterman-in-shark-tale-large-picture

Vicky Jenson, center, co-director of Shark Tale, along with Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. Image from movpins.

shark-tale

Shark Tale. Image from unionfilms.org.

Incredibly, only four women have been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards in nearly ninety years (Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties, Jane Campion for The Piano, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker) – with just one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, winning the title. Ever.

Although Melissa is hopeful for the future of women in the industry, she believes that we need to continue to support each other to make a real difference. She encouraged us to believe in our female vision.

“Trust in your stories – they matter just as much,” she smiled.

How do you think women can have their voice heard more clearly in the film and television industry? Comment below with your thoughts!

What do you see?

What I See Meets…Wimbledon

By Harlen Leonard & Marése O’Sullivan Today the What I See Project team braved the hussle and bussle of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. We walked the length of the queue and received contributions from women who were eager to become involved … Continue reading

What I See Meets…Leicester Square

What I See Meets…Leicester Square

By Harlen Leonard Today, the What I See team headed to Leicester Square to ask women what they see when they look in the mirror. We had a wonderful time chatting to everyone and hearing each woman’s different perceptions about … Continue reading

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Join the community of women taking part in The What I See Project.

We’re asking: What do you see when you look in the mirror?

If you’re interested in sharing your view, upload your story to The What I See Project website.

“Who am I?” We found out at the Science Museum, London

By Marése O’Sullivan

The What I See Project explores female empowerment and self-perception through the videos we share on our website. So the team headed to the Science Museum in London to check out its latest exhibition, ‘Who Am I?’

IMG_3554

IMG_3557 IMG_3558

Who Am I? invites you to explore the science of who you are through intriguing objects, provocative artworks and hands-on exhibits.

Discover what your voice sounds like as a member of the opposite sex, morph your face to see what you’ll look like as you age, or collect DNA to catch a criminal in our brand-new interactive exhibits.

Investigate some of the characteristics that make humans such a successful species, such as personality, intelligence and language.

Reflect on the big questions that new techniques in science are raising, and explore how your genetics and brain combine to create your unique identity.

– The Science Museum

The exhibition was certainly very interactive, with plenty of insights into everything from our genetic make-up, to our unique identity, to how feminine or masculine we think we are.

IMG_3608

The What I See interns, Harlen and Marése, are shown on the Science Museum’s graphics

There was more of an emphasis on tests and games for you to figure out what makes you who you are:

IMG_3620IMG_3678

IMG_3639  IMG_3649

I rather liked the more factual side of the exhibition. Computers dotted around the museum gave us the chance to click into the subjects that interested us the most, from ‘Why do we dream?’ to ‘Why are we not immortal?’ to ‘Are phobias inherited?’

IMG_3651IMG_3662

IMG_3634IMG_3636

Of course, our family and ancestors make up a huge part of who we are physically. As a genealogist, I was intrigued by this component. I could search for my surname in the 1881 and 1998 censuses and see what places in Britain were most populated by people with that surname during those years. There were also documents provided by the descendant of a World War One soldier, including his birth certificate and a portrait of him as a young man, which really added a true human touch to this scientific exhibit.

IMG_3685

Overall, we very much enjoyed the Who Am I? Exhibition at the Science Museum. You can check out the trailer for it below.

If you’d like to share with us what you think makes you who you are, you can upload your own video to our website.

Are you going to watch the Battle of the Sexes?

By Harlen Leonard

Today (June 26th) will see the release of the much-anticipated documentary Battle of the Sexes.

Poster and trailer belonging to Live For Films

Poster and trailer were found on Live For Films. Click here for more details.

The film’s historical footage chronicles Billie Jean King‘s journey from amateur tennis player to her 1973 defeat of Bobby Riggs, the match that earned her instant respect as a feminist icon.

King was the number one American world tennis champion and won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles, and 11 mixed doubles titles. She also founded the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Sports Foundation.

In 1973, Bobby Riggs challenged the leading women of the tennis world to beat him in a match. At the time, he was quoted as saying “I want to prove that women are lousy, [that] they stink [and] they don’t belong on the same court as a man.”

The 55-year-old first challenged Margaret Court, on the basis that no women could beat him even at his age, and he won on May 13, 1973. This caught Billie Jean’s attention.

Riggs said: “Billie Jean King is one of the all-time tennis greats. She’s one of the superstars, she’s ready for the big one, but she doesn’t stand a chance against me. Women’s tennis is so far beneath men’s tennis.”

Billie-Jean King v Evonne Goolagong

Image of Billie Jean King – courtesy of The Huffington Post.

On September 20, 1973, Riggs and King met each other at the Houston Astrodome, where Billie Jean went on to beat her competitor and instantly became a figurehead for the feminist movement. Over 1 million people watched the match on television and it is still considered to be the most-viewed match in tennis history.

This must-see film, produced by King, contains historical footage as well as interviews from Margaret Court, Chris Evert, and Venus and Serena Williams.

It is released in cinemas today. Let us know if you’re going to see it!

Watch the trailer below: