By Nidhi Kinhal
We’ve discussed gender wage gap in detail recently — whether it’s in the South Indian film industry, how much Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was paid or just the general pay gap in India, it’s always pertinent to talk about women in movies or in other fields.
There’s still something we’re forgetting. Actor and comedian Amy Poehler, who is currently promoting her new film The House, says it best. The owner of the production company Paper Kite, and founder of Smart Girls, says that the gender gap, “kind of makes me want to barf.” Same, Amy. So how do we fix gender imbalance? Poehler says that, “It’s about a huge combination of things: allowing women to have as many chances to succeed and fail and to make a mediocre film just like a guy. Everything doesn’t have to be so god**** special.”
The idea that when a man makes a movie, it’s just a movie. We let them succeed, we let them fail. (Like Ben Affleck who got to play Batman even after his failed portrayal in Daredevil, unlike, you know, Catwoman.) We let them make mediocre content. (Like Seth Rogan in Green Hornet.) But every film that either tells women’s stories, or has women donning off-camera creative hats, automatically carries added pressure.
But Poehler is optimistic and believes that things are improving — provided we ask these questions. “Do you have enough women in your writers’ room? Are you giving opportunities – especially to women of colour who are first-time writers, directors and producers, in ways that you’re giving to men of the same age and ability? And are you trying to tell interesting female stories?”
While it’s great that we’re noticing women’s stories, and fighting our way to the top, it’s also important to — like Ratna Pathak Shah pointed out at Lipstick Under My Burkha’s trailer release on Tuesday — “not load the film down with words such as ‘life changing movement’ or ‘new wave’ etc., as these things, these labels can be very hard to live with.”
The only way we’re going to have any equality in cinema — be it regional, national, or international — is if along with questioning systematic pay gaps and conservative mindsets, we simply become, watch, and raise women who make movies. And perhaps give women the chances they deserve, at failing or succeeding.