You may have read plenty of rages against the movie and TV machines, articles crying out for more fleshed-out, interesting, dynamic female characters/writers/producers/actors – or, heck, just more females – in pop culture. Perhaps you carry around Bridesmaids and Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black as totems of how popular a “lady-centric” story can be. You might even be optimistic about the rate of change – until, inevitably, a media captain like Aaron Sorkin makes a disheartening comment about women-in-Hollywood YET AGAIN.
On Monday, Sorkin, the guy behind such male-centric films and TV series as The Social Network and The Newsroom, gave a talk at Tribeca’s Innovation Week and reignited an debate we thought we put to rest. Female talent is out there, so let’s see more of it!
Sorkin had a different take. The auteur responded to a query about the lack of prominent female screenwriters with “I promise you nothing but capitalism drives decision making in Hollywood…the trick is there just needs to be more good scripts that have the kind of characters you’re looking for.”
So what he’s saying is that there aren’t enough good women writers or characters out there? Molly Mulshine, who wrote a smart op-ed in the Observer, isn’t buying it and neither am I. In retort, Mulshine wrote, “Pretending institutionalized sexism isn’t to blame for the dearth of female film protagonists is just crazy.” She argues instead that we should be holding our industry elite to a higher standard. We should be demanding change, not waiting for it.
So, I made a list of my demands. Hey, world! I am a moviegoer! I buy tickets! And here is a list of movies that I, a-person-with-money, would pay to see, by (gasp!) women in the media.
1) VEEP Goes to the White House, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. What if Vice P. Selina Meyer was to make it all the way to the tippy-top of Pennsylvania Avenue? This show is hilarious; stands to reason a movie would be, too.
2) Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant in the spin-off of their SNL sketch, Dykes and Fats. These controversially-named, hilarious characters could easily hold up a cop spoof (a la Starsky and Hutch).
3) Is it finally time for a female James Bond? (Sorkin actually mentioned this possibility in his interview.) Possibile stars: the ass-kicking Rooney Mara, Mad Men’s impressively cool Christina Hendricks, or ice queen Lena Headey from Game of Thrones.
4) Web-series double feature – what about a movie version of a) Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Broad City AND b) a movie version of Sasheer Zamata and Nicole Byer’s littler-known Pursuit of Sexiness? If they can even contemplate a third Sex and the City flick, the world will roll over for these two hilarious city-dwelling duos.
5) I’ve been a fan of Diablo Cody’s particular brand of black humor since 2011’s Young Adult, and will happily follow her next anti-teen-comedy to the nearest Cineplex.