Earlier this week, Women and Hollywood unveiled an infographic detailing the depressingly small number of female directors hired by the major studios over the past five years. Understandably, people were enraged – among them, Miriam Bale (@mimbale) who decided that her response was going to be to start a list of female directors Hollywood should hire, inviting her followers to contribute. Pretty soon, a hashtag was born.
But #hirethesewomen is more than just armchair activism. Women directors might hope to be represented to the studios that might hire them by their agents, but it’s not always that simple. Firstly, it’s a lot harder for women to even find an agent (browse the client list of any agency you like if you don’t believe us) and even when they do, agents are predisposed to present their safest bets to potential hirers. In an industry where women are habitually seen as a risk simply because of their gender, it’s clear what happens next.
But in the age of Twitter, drawing attention to the women directors who are out there, qualified and available to be hired really can help increase their visibility. There are large numbers of industry insiders on Twitter, and even more who pay attention to what’s being said. Since Miriam Bale began the hashtag, it has taken off. Among those getting involved is Lexi Alexander, the aforementioned Oscar-nominated director, who has done a fine job of keeping the conversation going, posting various lists of directors in numerous genres.
All in all, it’s a fine and forward-looking response to what began as a highly depressing set of statistics. So get involved! And who knows, maybe the director of Star Wars Episode 23 won’t have a Y chromosome.