Callie Khouri gave the movie business a lot of years of her life. It's been an up and down relationship. The up – winning an Academy Award for writing Thelma and Louise. The down – wanting to direct and getting pigeon holed into the chick flick box because she had made a movie about women.
But she also didn't think she wanted to do TV until Nashville came along. It seems like the kind of perfect storm for Khouri. She lived in Nashville and her husband T-Bone Burnett is one of the great music producers to ever come along. And, more importantly, she could write about women without feeling like she was being ridiculed for wanting to write about women.
As we have seen over the last decade, TV is no longer the place where actors come as a last resort. It is a place where actors – especially women – come to thrive. And now it's the place where women writers are creating content that allows women to be women and not just sex objects or silent girlfriends or grandmothers or crazy women (or any other stereotype that women get to play in the movies).
Nashville is one of the best new shows on TV but what Khouri is saying about movies is important. Because while people want you to think that things are so much better in the wake of Bridesmaids (maybe there is a book in there?) let's not be fooled. Things are not so much better.
We must take note when an Academy Award winning writer goes to TV and talks about how movies are humilitating to women.
Here what Kouri said to Salon this week:
You’re allowed to make things for women on television and there’s not like … you don’t have to go through the humiliation of having made something directed at women. There it’s just accepted, whereas if it’s a feature, it’s like “So, talk to me about chick flicks.”…
I just think it’s insulting that if there is something with women in it, it’s relegated to this kind of trash heap. It doesn’t matter what it is, how good it is, if there is emotion in it, it’s immediately going to be talked down to. And I’m obviously irritated by that. Probably all women are. Certainly a lot of women filmmakers are.
I want to make something that’s respectful, and respected. And I think you can make something for women that is respected on television. Anyway, I don’t want to just complain about features, but it does seem unduly hard given the number of women that exist in the world.
Her comments remind me how much of a miracle it is that we ever get content about women that is half way decent in films. It shouldn't be an either or. We should be able to see solid content about women on TV and in the movies. It shouldn't be that hard or humilitating.
Is Television The Best Place For Women In Hollywood? (ForbesWoman)