Rack Focused – Episode 2: Films from Herspective

A woman with a beverage and popcorn sits in a movie theater to watch films from herspective.
In this episode, the Racked Focus panel discuss the importance of the female perspective in film making.
The ECG Rack Focused team recoring episode 2, Films from Herspective.
The ECG Rack Focused team recoring episode 2, Films from Herspective.

Episode 2 Transcript:

Mary: Hey, I’m Mary Winter.

Kelsey: I’m Kelsey Merriam.

Alexxiss: I’m Alexxiss Jackson.

Jenn: I’m Jenn Lee.

Emily: And I’m Emily Peyton.

Mary: And we are Rack Focused. Today’s episode is Films from Herspective. Ha ha ha ha ha, get it?

Alexxiss: No, I don’t get it.

Jenn: She’s a girl.

Kelsey: We’re gonna talk about …

Mary: We’re gonna talk about the film industry, and how we can get the female perspective, and how we do get the female perspective in there sometimes.

Alexxiss: And why we need the female perspective.

Mary: Yes, ’cause it is kind of important. It’s, like, half the population. No big deal.

Kelsey: It’s kinda important.

Emily: It’s only half the population. It’s not that big of a deal, right?

Jenn: It’s whatever.

Mary: Women don’t watch movies, Jenn. Silly girls.

Emily: And they certainly don’t work in them.

Alexxiss: They only watch them if you play them in the kitchen.

Jenn: Oh yeah, definitely. The TV in the kitchen.

Alexxiss: I do want a TV in my kitchen though. Seriously. I don’t cook in there, but yeah.

Mary: So does it make sense for production to seek out the female perspective? Just women’s perspectives.

Alexxiss: Well, last week we talked a bit about specifically how the statistics are different when you have one female director involved or a female run production company involved. So just to recap on films where there’s at least one female director, women make up 68 percent of writers. If they’re exclusively male directors, they make up eight percent of writers.

Kelsey: That’s just crazy.

Alexxiss: Which is a pretty big difference I would say. I don’t know math ’cause I’m a girl, but you know, I think that there’s a big difference between eight percent and 68 percent. I’m joking. Anyways. So similarly on films with at least one female director, women make up 32 percent of editors, only 14 percent on films with exclusively male directors. Same thing, 15 percent of cinematographers. Women and makeup 15 percent of cinematographers on films where there’s at least one female director. On films where they are exclusively male directors, only three percent, three percent of cinematographers. And then with composers it’s two percent on films with exclusively male directors. And if a film has at least one female director, then that goes up to 12 percent. So as you can see, it absolutely makes a really big difference, and those are the times when you see women being incorporated into these positions because otherwise they’re not.

Mary: Well, yeah, because somebody at the top is going, “Sure that person can do that.” Instead of being like, “Oh, she’s a girl.” Or being like, “Hey, I know this person who does this.” ‘Cause I think that’s part of it, too. Jen brought it up in the last episode where they know other women, and so they’re mentors basically. It’s just-

Alexxiss: More natural for that to happen.

Mary: Yeah, I think it’s easier for … You can be a woman and have male friends and everything. But I think it’s easier for women to lift other women up, and men to lift other men up. It’s just easier to kind of, not be with your kind or whatever, but you know. I can relate more to you than I can other men.

Jenn: Yup. In that way, at least. There are definitely ways. I didn’t watch Lord of the Rings and think I can’t relate to anybody. I am Bilbo Baggins regardless of whether I’m a female or not. But there is a huge difference in the female perspective and those books would have been completely different if they were written by women.

Mary: Oh, absolutely.

Jenn: And they wouldn’t have had to just randomly shove a made up character into the last Hobbit movie.

Kelsey: Oh my God. You know what? Don’t get me started.

Mary: I know. What a let down.

Jenn: But I think that says a lot about the female perspective is that obviously came from the male perspective of, “Oh, we need to get more women in here. Let’s just shove this character in.” And it’s not that other women don’t like it because they didn’t … I don’t think they were expecting that response, I think they were expecting-

Emily: They genuinely thought they were doing the right thing. We put a woman in, isn’t that what you wanted? It’s like, “Well, we want more women but not like that. Not just to be part of a love triangle.” That’s not what we want.

Alexxiss: I’m so done with tokens in general. This is the token black kid, this is the token … You know, whatever. This is the token female, this is the token whatever. Just make them characters, they’re real people.

Emily: Make them people. Yeah.

Alexxiss: Yeah. Make them multidimensional and not just fitting into some stereotype or box.

Emily: Exactly. I would have been fine knowing The Hobbit and the story of The Hobbit if there wasn’t a female character in it because it’s an old classic story, you know?

Kelsey: It’s fine. Reading it in middle school, I was never like, “There’s no women in this.” I mean, it probably crossed my mind at some point, but it never bothered me. Like, “Ugh. There’s not a love triangle in this? I’m out.”

Jenn: Also, the woman had to be in a love triangle.

Kelsey: Yeah. She couldn’t just be a cool character that’s just there to be a badass, she had to be part of a love triangle and a very stupid one at that, so it was … I could talk for hours on that movie.

Mary: But I think having more females in the writer’s room, having more females on set, having more females in all aspects, I mean, prevents that from happening because you know 15 women in that room, when they were writing that, they would not have been like, “This is a great idea. We’ll just have this woman be a love triangle and that’s the only reason she’s here.” Somebody would have been … Out of 15 women, somebody would’ve been like, “I don’t think this is the way we want to go.”

Alexxiss: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely.

Mary: And people in power within the writer’s room too, because I bet you it could’ve been a woman that was working in The Hobbit that was like, “There’s no women in this story. We need to add women into this story.” And the head writer, who was a man, was like, “Let’s do this.” I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened, but to just make her like a checkbox like we talked about last week, to make her just like, “Oh, we have a woman. Check. How do we work her into the story? We’ll make her the love triangle interest.” Why? It was so not necessary.

Alexxiss: Yeah.

Emily: I think it was almost worse to me because they did it under the guise of like, “This will be a cool character,” and then she just turned into vag.

Alexxiss: She wasn’t a cool character.

Emily: She wasn’t a cool character at all. Yeah, she did some cool stuff, but it was completely undermined by the fact that really her main purpose was just to try to add more drama to a story that didn’t need it ’cause that wasn’t what the story was supposed to be about.

Mary: Going back to the perspective part of this, especially in the writer’s room, because that’s where a lot of this happens, in the writer’s room. You can have your female cinematographer and director-

Alexxiss: You’re not gonna get to day 30 of filming and be like, “Ugh.” I mean, sometimes. But-

Mary: Yeah. But don’t be that person when it’s been planned and your 30 days into filming.

Alexxiss: It causes more problems.

Mary: Exactly. So in the writer’s room, that’s where it happens, and it happens because typically there are more male writers than female writers, and so, sometimes, and this goes both ways … Men don’t think of the things that women might think of, women don’t think of the things that men might think of. So you have to find this happy medium, which is why I’m so excited about Frances McDormand really going out there and putting yourself out there about the inclusion writer, because it’s not just men and women, it’s diversity across all fronts. I need that type of perspective to put something real out there.

Mary: And with casting too, I feel like a lot of times you’ll get a casting notice. It actually made me giggle because my degree is in musical theater, I wasn’t in film, and a lot of people were very upset when they saw the Hamilton casting notice that went out. That specifically said that it was for people of color and diverse. They were looking for a diverse cast and people were very mad about that. They were like, “How dare you do this?” And I’m like, “You guys haven’t been seeing the hundred years of people specifying that it was white people that they wanted in this thing.” They will specify white woman who’s a size two, who’s five foot. I mean, these things happen and they’ve been happening in casting, but at the same time when you’re casting for something, why does it have to be that person? If this person is a chef, it should not matter what race they are, whatever. If they’re playing the part well that should be what the character is.

Emily: Well, I mean, unless … So let’s take that from the other side. What if you have a Cajun restaurant and you need a Cajun chef? That’s like, “I need this specific accent, or I need this specific looking person.”

Mary: Or if you’re doing something historical and you don’t want to completely trend on what actually happened.

Jenn: Exactly.

Mary: But it’s a fictional take on what actually happened, so it’s a little different.

Jenn: Casting a redhead as Mulan would be a little weird. It’s a little weird, that’s the idea.

Emily: Oh my God. How about we talk about the situation that happened with Scarlet Joe being cast for …

Kelsey: Ghost in the Shell.

Emily: Ghost in the Shell. Dude, that was so terrible.

Jenn: And actually did speak Japanese, but there was one character that spoke Japanese and she could understand him.

Emily: Come on. We have so many excellent actresses who could have played her instead.

Alexxiss: I think she had a hand in that film and I think that’s why she wanted to do that. But I agree that should not have been her. And they were like, “She could pass as Asian.” And I was like-

Jenn: No. Stop, stop.

Mary: If you have to say someone should pass as something, they should not be in that role, girl.

Emily: Exactly.

Alexxiss: See, that’s the thing about the casting call for Hamilton. Some people are like, “Oh, well that’s racist that they only want people of color.” But the thing is when you historically look at every single movie and every single television show, people saying, “Oh, well we want to make this more diverse, so we’re going to specifically focus on actors of color or actions of color,” is kind of a way to swing the pendulum back to a little bit more equal. It reminds me of … They did this production of The Wiz on live TV, it was a live primetime thing. The Wiz is kind of like the black version of Wizard of Oz, and they were all these people on Twitter like, “If they made a all white version of The Whiz, how would you all feel about that?” And it’s like, “Well, that was The Wizard of Oz.” There was not a single black person in The Wizard of Oz, so it was like they made The Wiz to see themselves in these roles and-

Emily: Ease on down the road, if you will.

Alexxiss: Yeah, exactly.

Emily: I had to. I’m sorry.

Mary: So yeah, people who say things like, “Oh, well casting calls that call for actors of color are racist,” are completely lacking context and it’s actually really obnoxious.

Alexxiss: Right.

Mary: And I feel like a lot of people who get annoyed at casting calls have clearly not been looking at casting calls. They’re just like, “Oh, they brought up this person’s race. That makes it racist.” And it’s like all casting calls bring that up. That’s something that all casting calls do. And there are options when you’re doing casting, so if you cast through backstage, or if you cast through 800Casting, or whatever you cast through, or through an agency there is an option to not specify race. And I feel like for most of what people cast for, if you’re gonna cast for extras, why do you care what their race is, to be honest. As long as you’re making sure that there’s not, like, “Hey, I’m gonna have a movie about a historically black college and then cast only white people,” that’s probably not a good idea for the extras.

Jenn and the ECG Rack Focused team recoring episode 2, Films from Herspective.
Jenn and the ECG Rack Focused team recoring episode 2, Films from Herspective.

Kelsey: If it’s set in Atlanta, you need multiple types of races.

Alexxiss: Right.

Emily: Illinois.

Alexxiss: Or a city in general. I mean, you’re not gonna have anything about New York City and have it have only white people. Oh wait, yes you are because tons of people do that, but it drives me insane.

Kelsey: Girls.

Alexxiss: I actually had a friend who … Yeah. So I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard a lot about-

Emily: They’re so mean to each other.

Kelsey: Okay, but we can’t talk about Girls.

Mary: But no, I had a friend who we were watching Spider-Man: Homecoming, and they were like, “Oh my God, they were just putting a bunch of minorities in that movie because that’s what they do.” And I was like, “That’s what it’s like to go to a high school in New York City.” That felt very genuine to me. I was like, as somebody who went to a specialized school in New York, that’s what it felt like.

Jenn: People were complaining about Mary Jane being Zendaya or whatever her name is. Zendaya.

Alexxiss: She was cute.

Jenn: They were like, “Mary Jane’s white.” And, like, not necessarily. It doesn’t have be-

Alexxiss: Why?

Jenn: Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t have to be that way

Alexxiss: Same with Hamilton. It doesn’t make a difference in the character, so it doesn’t have to obviously.

Emily: Okay. If you redid The Color Purple and you cast it in an all white cast, that’s wrong, That just doesn’t work.

Alexxiss: Nobody’s doing A Raisin in the Sun with an all white cast because on purpose. It’s not through experience.

Emily: I like what you said, Alexxiss, the diversity swings the pendulum back to the center. It’s just like, people have this … My mother included. My mother and I had a wonderful conversation and I think it opened both of our minds up to the different sides of things. But the idea of having to take a step back to let a minority shine, or someone who’s been oppressed shine for a moment, to swing that pendulum back, I think that’s a wonderful way to put it because it’s not necessarily that women are better, but women need to be boosted up a little bit right now in this industry because we haven’t been, and it’s been suppressed. And right now with the Me Too movement and all that that happened. So then this is the time for them to be focused on

Alexxiss: Yeah, exactly.

Kelsey: And eventually we won’t have to be focused on.

Emily: And we won’t and it’ll be normal.

Alexxiss: And we shouldn’t have to do that forever. It would be great. It will be a normal thing and that’s fine. And that’s a totally legitimate thing to worry about.

Mary: Right. And the way to do that is to get their perspectives in there.

Alexxiss: Yeah. And that’s the thing, there needs to be an intentional shift because thus far there has not been an intentional shift, and that’s why the status quo has remained the statistics that I was saying earlier.

Emily: Yeah. And it’s very easy especially because people tell writers all the time, write what you know, and that’s great. But if all writers are white guys, they’re gonna write what they know, which is about white people and being a white guy from the white guy perspective.

Mary: And some people are good at that.

Emily: Right. And some people are good at writing things from another perspective, but I think you also need to check that and be like, “Hey, maybe I didn’t grow up that way. I need to check that.” Just like somebody who’s rich writing about a poor kid would probably get some stuff wrong. You need to do that with any type of culture in general. I’m not going to write something about Japanese culture completely accurately because A: I have not done any research on it, and B: I didn’t grow up that way. So there are going to be things that I think are interesting that may or may not be accurate.

Jenn: And as a writer, you should have some sort of integrity about what you’re writing and understand that you are not the person to write this. You’re not the best suited for that.

Mary: And if it’s something that you’re really passionate about, find a team that will let you do that. Find people that are diverse or find people that are able to write about that genuinely and then let them speak.

Jenn: Right. Exactly.

Kelsey: Actually. Don’t be like, “Hey, I let a black person in the writer’s room. Now we can write something about blacks.” No, that’s not how that works.

Alexxiss: Yeah. While they just sit there and aren’t really allowed to say anything. Or they say, Well, you know, when I was growing up this happened.” And they’re like, “Oh no. Let me explain to you what actually happened because I’m sure that’s not true. I’m sure that your memory of that is not accurate.”

Emily: That person’s not really racist, they were just being racist that one time.

Mary: All right. Well, on that note, let’s just bring up our woman crush ’cause that’s so much more comfortable and happy. It’s just a happier time to talk about a woman crush. Ava DuVernay is this week’s woman crush for being a general badass, I think. I feel like that’s most of our women crushes are going to be like, “This person is awesome and this is why.”

Alexxiss: But the thing is Ava DuVernay specifically goes out of her way to hire women cinematographers. She did Queen Sugar on HBO and had all women directors. She’s a person that really got to where she is, and had an unprecedented amount of success, and decided to reach back and pull all these other people who maybe didn’t have the same amount of opportunities or are not traditionally represented in Hollywood, and pulled them up with her. So like I said, female directors, female cinematographers. And that’s the thing people that realize that other people are underrepresented, or who fit in that underrepresented group are very often more likely-

Alexxiss: Who fit in that underrepresented group are very often more likely to try to ameliorate that when they get in a position of power to do so and so the thing is because Hollywood is still generally run by a very specific demographic, again that’s what I was saying about why there needs to be an intentional shift, because if the people in power are not trying to shift it, then who’s gonna do it? If we’re down here bitching about it, but we don’t have the money and resources to change it ourselves, then we’re just sitting here bitching about it and nothing’s actually happening.

Mary: So that’s why there needs to be people who are in power that are actually working to change that and Ava DuVernay is absolutely an example of a person that got to where she is and didn’t say, “Oh I made it. Great. Thanks guys.” She got up there and tried to make it easier for other people to come behind her and do the same thing.

Jenn: Absolutely.

Emily: No, I love that. It’s so great.

Jenn: And I think culturally, I wanna say as a society, I know that we seem to have been taking steps in the wrong direction, but I would … I do like to think that most young people are for this and they are not just for this, but using their dollars to spend towards more inclusive movies, more inclusive everything. I think that a lot of, I don’t want to say millennials, because it’s not just millennials, it’s Gen-X, it’s also the younger generation, want to see this. And when they don’t, it feels uncomfortable. And I think you see that when people critique things like “La La Land.” There’s a huge backlash about “La La Land.”

Emily: So, I actually, so, “La La Land” I have not finished … I’ve started it and the color looked really good and I was really excited and it was very beautifully done but I haven’t finished the movie because I went to sleep instead.

Mary: [crosstalk 00:17:47] It was very beautiful looking. I thought it was so obnoxious.

Emily: Sorry.

Mary: There’s one scene in particular that really bothered me and it’s these two characters in a Jazz club, and it’s the only two white people in the room are the only two people lit. And it bothers me. I like the idea of having the two main people like star-crossed lovers. It looked to me like they were trying to do something like they did in “West Side Story” and I love that idea, but it felt wrong because-

Alexxiss: That scene in particular, they really were the only white people and then everyone else was black and it looked as if they were trying to dim the room using black people. And I was just like

Jenn: It felt wrong.

Alexxiss: I didn’t mind “La La Land” but I didn’t mind it for the camera work. I thought the camera work was like the one shots every now and then.

Jenn: That’s actually me what bothers me the most.

Alexxiss: What? I loved that.

Mary: Is that a lot of the movie itself looked beautiful and was great and then you see choices like that and I’m like that undermines everything else. There’s so many people that are doing great work and it’s undermined by things like that. You take a Jazz artist … okay they’ve got two actors. I love them both. I think they’re great. I don’t think that they necessarily should have been the two actors they chose. They have two actors in a role where both of them dance, and both of them sing. Neither of those actors, in my opinion, are singers or dancers. They had John Legend in the movie and didn’t have him be the main guy that sang, which is confusing to me. But that’s just me.

Kelsey: He was the lead in the band, at least. That was good.

Jenn: Yeah.

Alexxiss: His song was good. His one song that he got was very good.

Alexxiss Jackson recording the second episode of Rack Focused, Films from Herspective.
Alexxiss Jackson recording the second episode of Rack Focused, Films from Herspective.

Mary: But I feel like you’re not using what you’ve got at that point. He’s such a powerhouse, and he’s so popular right now, and he’s great. And he’s not the lead. Why?

Jenn: Well, I mean, it’s like I said last episode, at the end of the day, production companies want to make money and so having Ryan Gosling or somebody like that they believe is going to cause more of a draw than John Legend. And that’s one of the reasons why “Black Panther” is such a big deal is because seeing that make over a billion dollars is more likely to encourage studios to make movies that target specific audiences that thus far they’ve thought aren’t … What’s the word I’m looking for?

Emily: Aren’t profitable.

Jenn: Right. Thank you. That’s exactly the word. I don’t know why I couldn’t find it, but yeah, aren’t profitable.

Alexxiss: And it’s hilarious too, because everyone, even though they chose Ryan Gosling to be the lead in that, everyone was like, “Oh and John Legend’s in it.” They were super excited about John Legend.

Jenn: Everybody’s excited about John Legend because he’s great. I mean, that’s not really necessarily about women. But I think that we’re seeing a culture, especially on the internet, where people are made uncomfortable by choices like that and that will force people to stop making those choices. And not necessarily to stop making them but to think about what they’re doing when they do make those choices, because I don’t know whoever made that choice and I don’t know that they did that on purpose. They might have made an artistic thing and didn’t think about it. And then they realized, oh people are gonna take it that way. It makes people uncomfortable and that might change their mind for another choice down the road and I hope it does because that’s-

Jenn: Like I said, the cinematography in that was great.

Alexxiss: It was great. The color did not tell a story. The color was awesome and there were like moments of, I’m like, “Wow, this is going somewhere. They’re using color. They’re using color.” No story. So it was just like, “I don’t understand why you’re doing this.”

Emily: That makes me so angry when it’s so close and yet so far. Not to really bring it around, but “The Shape of Water” used color in a way that I thought enhanced the story.

Alexxiss: His movies are really great about that.

Emily: “Pan’s Labyrinth” [crosstalk 00:21:30] Beautiful and I forever will be in love.

Jenn: Guillermo del Torro is a man who tells good stories from female perspectives.

Alexxiss: Yes, he can do it well. He can do it well.

Emily: I agree. I think that he has done an excellent job at like portraying-

Alexxiss: He treats them as people and they just so happen to be women.

Emily: And I think that’s super important.

Alexxiss: It does not feel like you’re just checking boxes. It feels like genuinely this is a story I want to tell and it’s about a woman. It doesn’t feel like, “I guess I gotta make a movie about women.” [crosstalk 00:22:00] It feels like he just wants to tell a story.

Emily: It feels genuine.

Kelsey: All of his films kind of center around women. There’s always like a little girl or a woman. The lead is always a female.

Emily: He’s so good.

Kelsey: I don’t think it’s impossible for you to tell a decent story of a perspective that you have not lived through. I don’t think that’s impossible, but I think what helps, and I’m sure Guillermo del Torro does this, is he probably has women in his writer’s room to make sure that he’s not overstepping boundaries or he probably has someone proofread it. A lot of director/editor duos, I love this. So, you might have a male director, Martin Scorsese. Scorsese directs, writes, sends it off to his editor and he’s been using the same editor for 40 years, Thelma … her last name’s escaping me. Her first name’s Thelma. She’s been the editor for him this whole time, basically.

Kelsey: So, he gives his idea to her and then trusts her to put another layer on it that he didn’t see before. And those kind of duos are really nice and I like that. A lot of female directors will use male editors, because there’s a certain strength in both of those perspectives that maybe you just don’t see.

Jenn: I know Quentin Tarantino had a female editor for a while and then I think she passed, away, so…

Kelsey: She was great, too. George Lucas used a female editor for a little bit. Steven Spielberg uses female editors, usually, predominantly. But that two-sided … you can hand me something that … it has some sort of masculine strength that I would not have been able to really put in there probably as well as you did and then I can show you the empathetic, intuitive side, I guess, of the female perspective.

Emily: Shout out to our lady editors, by the way, because they’re awesome, but the other great thing is that it’s like the movie lives or dies in the edit, truly. When you get the opposite perspective, it’s super important.

Jenn: Also, Thelma Schoonmaker.

Emily: Schoonmaker.

Kelsey: I knew it was something. I was like, “Schoon … something like that.”

Jenn: We can link to the IMDB. I think that brings us to a good point to talk about our hate for the day, if you will. Things we hate for this week, which is funny and is a great segue because it’s male writers that write shitty women. So the opposite of what we were just talking about.

Emily: Oh my God, alright, so, let’s talk about “Justice League.”

Alexxiss: Well, let’s talk about Wonder Woman first, and how awesome she was.

Emily: Okay, okay, okay, okay, we’ll start on a high note. Starting on a high note: “Wonder Woman” was beautiful, wonderful and amazing.

Alexxiss: The film, not the character.

Emily: The film.

Alexxiss: The film, “Wonder Woman”.

Jenn: But she was too.

Emily: Wonder Woman is also a badass lady.

Jenn: In real life, too.

Emily: So, Wonder Woman came out, it was awesome, gave me so many good feels and high hopes for where the DC universe was going with everything and then they fucked up. They fucked up pretty hard and “Justice League” became an absolute trash heap. The director kept … so it was mostly costume design that I’m whining about. Partially it is the writing that … the writing was so derivative. I felt like Wonder Woman’s part in it was minimized. She was not nearly as badass, important or self-assured or even sentient in her own existence, I feel like. She didn’t have her own character. She was just constantly being pushed around by the bigger men in her life. I thought that that was unfair.

Alexxiss: Which is the opposite of what the original is.

Emily: I thought that was so unfair. And so we’ve got her costume design, I’ll go back to this. Her costume design in “Wonder Woman” was so perfect. It was tactical. It was what a woman would want to wear.

Alexxiss: And it wasn’t modest.

Emily: All of the warriors … it wasn’t modest.

Alexxiss: It wasn’t like, “I need to cover up.”

Emily: It wasn’t, I need to cover up.

Alexxiss: It was still functional, though.

Emily: It was still functional.

Jenn: It was sexy, but it was not the kind of video game armor sexy where this wouldn’t protect you at all. It felt like it worked.

Jenn: It worked. It was workable for the warriors and everyone. It was absolutely workable, and beautiful and everything. And then in Justice League how they went over and showed the warriors again, they all the sudden had magically lost 70 percent of their god damn costumes. 70 percent. It was like, “Oh, we’re gonna wear bikinis, now, because we’re fancy. And our boobs are gonna jiggle more. Cause reasons.” Because the thing that you want most when you’re running and dealing with javelins is I want my tits to go “buh”.

Alexxiss: Well, yeah, but if you’re gonna be in a bikini on a beach that’s, of course. No support.

Jenn: That’s what I look for in a bra: no support.

Alexxiss: But I feel like having a female write for “Wonder Woman” is going to like, of course these women wouldn’t be wearing something that’s not supportive. They don’t want to be jiggling. Guys are not thinking of that. They don’t realize that’s not comfortable.

Jenn: Because they would want that. They would want to see that. They’re like, “I don’t want your bras to have support. I don’t want to see it. I want to see what happens if they don’t.”

Alexxiss: I mean, I don’t know that that’s true for everyone. I don’t think anyone wants to watch me with no support.

Kelsey: With “Justice League”, now again, let me preface this. I did not waste my time watching that trash, but I did watch a ton of those movie clips and everything and especially about her and there were so many shots that were just kind of up-skirt and I’m like, “You planned for this. You planned for her to slide right there and then move on.” This awesome slow-mo scene of her just kicking ass, right? She’s just left and right just is getting. There’s like three crotch shots and I’m like, who said, on the shot list, “Okay, we gotta get Gal Gadot‘s pussy, now, three times. Let’s go. This’ll be great.” No one-

Alexxiss: From different angles, no less.

Kelsey: From different angles and in slow-mo. Get outta here.

Emily: Hey, Gal, can you do some squats, so your butt … I need to see more butt. I need more butt.

Jenn: I just need a little more gratuitous ass.

Emily: Can we like can we make her skirt shorter?

Alexxiss: This brings me to my first point, which is just what is gonna happen when they try to make a porn remake? They’ve done all the shots already.

Kelsey: It’s just a bikini. It’s literally just a bikini. You talked about the self-assured thing that Wonder Woman had in “Wonder Woman.” She was. She was like, “Well, why can’t I do that? Well, I’m gonna do it anyway.” That was great. Wonder Woman was like, “I have this idea” and they’re like, “We’re gonna do this instead.” That was Batman. And then she was like, “Alright, that sounds cool, too.” She just went along with it. I was like, “No, man.” I think DC’s still like, “This is Batman’s game,” and it’s not. It’s her game. And if DC wants to have the same level of respect that Marvel has gotten for itself, they need to understand where their lead is. We have freaking Supergirl, and then Wonder Woman.

Jenn: Okay, so to bring it back. I’m old-school nerd, DC fan of comics. Love DC comics.

Emily: Oh my God, and the animated ones, so good.

Jenn: The animated shorts, they’re really good. They’re very faithful to the comics. They’re really great. Going to some little bit of a history with Justice League. Justice League, it is kind of Batman’s show. Superman thinks he’s the head of it, but no. Batman’s got all the shit fucking figured out because he’s the planner. He’s got shit done.

Mary: So he’s the producer.

Jenn: So he’s the fucking producer and he’s getting it. So he’s putting his hair up in a bun and he’s getting shit done. He is. And so it would make sense she would go with his plan, but I feel like normally, even in the comics, they have more dissonance. She has her own ideas and she’s like “Hey, Bruce. I don’t fucking want to do that. That’s stupid.” And there wasn’t any of that. The plan wasn’t collaborative. It was, “Now, let’s do this.” Plot point. I don’t know. It felt very derivative.

Mary: I didn’t like the other girl in it, either. I like her as an actress, but I didn’t like how they wrote the other female … I don’t remember who that is, what her character is. That probably says a lot why I don’t like it. I don’t even remember her name. She just felt very weak. I don’t hate having weak female characters, because they aren’t necessary. There are weak-willed type of people. That’s just what happens, but for some reason I just didn’t … I don’t know, it didn’t mesh. It wasn’t right.

Kelsey: It is Batman’s show, predominantly. And I think DC comics are better than Marvel, for sure. And their animated movies are just insane. “The Killing Joke,” watch it. It’s incredible. But in this time, with the … we’re talking about the power that film has over people to show those kind of perspectives and to show what’s normal. Because we watch film and we talked about this last episode. Your brain is perceiving it and taking it all in and it’s processing it and it’s … that kind of becomes your norm. You start thinking that these types of situations will happen in everyday life and this is how I handle it, when it might not actually be how you should handle that situation. Just because it was on a film doesn’t mean it’s how you should go about this. And with the power that films have over people’s perspectives and in this feminist movement that’s going on, I felt like-

PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:32:04]

Mary: This feminist movement that’s going on, I felt like it would have been smart for DC to let Wonder Woman take a little bit more of a lead with Justice League.

Jenn: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:32:15] Like I said, it would have been fine if there was just even any sort of cognitive dissonance between the two of the people. It would have been…

Mary: And a few less crotch shots.

Jenn: A few less crotch shots. They could have fixed it with fewer crotch shots, better costumes, and just having Wonder Woman have a voice. She lost her entire voice that she gained in Wonder Woman, and it was very …

Emily They were just too excited about Jason Momoa.

Jenn: They were just too excited. Well no. [crosstalk 00:32:43] I’m also excited about Jason Momoa, so that part of the movie was fine for me.

Mary: He should have been wearing less clothes. [crosstalk 00:32:54]

Jenn: I guess at least they were doing equal opportunity objectivism.

Alexxiss: They Magic Miked. [crosstalk 00:32:59] They Magic-Miked that.

Mary: I think he’s totally fine with that.

Jenn: That’s fine.

Kelsey: He’s actually a very progressive person too, so I’m sure he was like, Well if she’s gonna wear less clothes, why am I wearing all this?

Emily: Me too!

Emily Payton recording the second episode of Rack Focused, Films from Herspective.
Emily Payton recording the second episode of Rack Focused, Films from Herspective.

Mary: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I’m from the sea.

Alexxiss: Yeah, exactly. I’m from the sea, we don’t wear clothes.

Kelsey: We don’t wear clothes. I like that all of a sudden he’s got kind of like an old Brooklyn accent.

Alexxiss: I’m from the sea.

Mary: I’m from the sea.

Kelsey: It’s so not him. Nice guy, but yeah. No. I know Michael Bay.

Mary: Oh no.

Kelsey: I feel like we’re gonna rag on Michael Bay, like every one of these episodes.

Jenn: It’s fine. He deserves it.

Kelsey: But his portrayal of women is very similar. Whenever there’s a female role that comes forward, it’s just like, Okay, from top down. I like Michael Bay movies, because, like I have said before, I like bad movies.

Jenn: Hey, Armageddon was great.

Kelsey: [crosstalk 00:33:43] I like it, but when you’re watching these movies, you do know. Okay, now we’re gonna see Megan Fox from head to toe, and toe to head, because that’s [crosstalk 00:33:54].

Mary: This is the sexy [crosstalk 00:33:55].

Emily: Back arching over car. [crosstalk 00:33:57] Really uncomfortably.

Jenn: She’s got a flux capacitors.

Emily: In the way that nobody would ever do that.

Kelsey: Flux capacitor in your car.

Alexxiss: Yeah.

Kelsey: I just didn’t understand that.

Jenn: Wow. That car is so cool. No wonder it’s a Transformer.

Mary: That’s something that so ugh.

Alexxiss: But I liked that she was smart and mechanical.

Emily: Exactly!

Alexxiss: As a kid, as a girl, I was like, Yes! There’s a girl who’s a mechanic. But she would never have dressed that way.

Mary: See, that’s the problem. I hate to even give Michael Bay any credit in that area but it’s like he tried at least to make her, that she could do something. But then he did it in such a sexual way that it’s like, you just ruined it. [crosstalk 00:34:35]

Emily: Should he get half a gold star? Or a third?

Alexxiss: No. Not even.

Kelsey: In Transformers two, the first shot of Megan Fox is her bent over with her ass out on a motorcycle drawing boobs onto the motorcycle.

Mary: She was tattooing the motorcycle.

Kelsey: I can’t do this. I can’t do this! I also really like Megan Fox, which you’d think I would hate her. But I follow her on Instagram. She’s very odd and she’s like a devoted mother now, so she’s talking about how she wants her kids to be raised and the respect she wants for her kids and stuff like that. She’s a decent human being. I think that she has always been a hot girl and has always been told she’s a hot girl, and she’s had to deal with that through her career. And she’s always played a hot girl. Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer’s Body is a great film, by the way. Diablo Cody. Go Diablo Cody.

Mary: I think that is something to bring up. You have a difference between women who are brought up where we’re like, Okay, I’m mediocre. Or, Okay, I’m decent, but I’m not amazing. And the world reacts to women who are hot. What our society has as hot in such a different way. If you watch a stereotypically hot woman walk through a room, she gets a different reaction than everybody does. And it doesn’t matter if she’s a psychotherapist or a rocket engineer. She’s still going to be seen as that for a while. And it’s different than a hot guy. If a hot man were to walk into a room, you might double-take or whatever, but you’re not…

Kelsey: Your jaw is not on the floor.

Mary: You know that whiplash neck thing? [crosstalk 00:36:12] That. That happens.

Emily: I don’t know. I love the female body. I think it’s beautiful. I think bodies can be beautiful. I don’t know if it’s something to do with maybe as people we just enjoy the female figure more. Because you don’t really have that reaction even with Jason Momoa.

Alexxiss: Jason Momoa, though.

Emily: I was beside myself during Magic Mike, I just had to say that. [crosstalk 00:36:42] I was so uncomfortable, but it was awesome. It was a good uncomfortable. I was like, Oh, never been here before. This is cool.

Alexxiss: Made your ginis tingle?

Mary: But Emily, I completely agree with you. The female form is beautiful and I’m certainly not saying that women should be covered up from head to toe all the time and shouldn’t be looked at necessarily. But there is a balance that has just historically never been met.

Emily: Absolutely. And I think that’s why we react the way that we do. Even if a hot girl walked here, we would all be like, Damn. Okay. Right? [crosstalk 00:37:19]

Mary: She probably doesn’t eat salad.

Emily: I don’t know if this is like the chicken or the egg thing. As women, are we into the hot girl because [crosstalk 00:37:39] it was pushed on us? Like I said, we’re comparing yourself to her and we want to be like her. We think she looks beautiful as well. Is that because we’ve been told to be that way and look at that and told that she is the epitype that we are trying to go for?

Mary: I think it’s a mix.

Emily: Or is it because the female body is just…

Mary: Women dress for other women. Let’s be real.

Emily: I think you could say the same thing about hot men. It’s the same across gender. I don’t think it’s women or men are more beautiful, one form or the other. I think it’s just like people who are basically the pillar of the perfect specimen of a human are beautiful to us because they are what we can never really achieve. And that’s why [crosstalk 00:38:31]. Retouching? No, no, no, no, no. All the retouching that is prevalent in our society holds us to an unrealistic standard. It’s just that way for both men and women. I don’t think this is just a woman problem. This is a people problem.

Kelsey: Absolutely. I agree with that. As a counterargument, and I’m not saying I necessarily agree with this when we’re talking about Michael Bay saying he caters his films toward 13-year-old boys. If a 13-year-old boy is in his head and he’s constantly having all these sexual thoughts and everything, because it’s different. Boys’ sex drive, at least at that age, they can’t control it.

Emily: Oh, mine was there too.

Kelsey: I’m sure, but we were able to control it a little bit more.

Emily: No, we’re expected to control it, I think. Girls are taught differently. [crosstalk 00:39:23] I think it’s not cool for a girl to act like that and it’s totally fine for a teenage boy because boys will be boys.

Kelsey: Exactly.

Mary: That’s a socialization thing more than it is a biology thing.

Kelsey: You don’t think it’s chemical?

Emily: No, I do not.

Mary: I think that it’s impossible for us to know because with the way that our society is structured there are so many things that are indoctrinated in us from a very early age. Who’s to say? But people still walk around and saying, Oh, you know, men are…I was actually reading a thing about this the other day. The point that they were making is essentially that this is a biological thing for man that cannot be ignored. It’s the whole nature versus nurture thing. Because we’re so indoctrinated, there is literally no way of knowing. Are men actually more sexual? Or is it just women’s sexuality is suppressed from the time that they stop going boobs?

Emily: Before. I would say before.

Kelsey: I remember being very confused in middle school because I would always hear stuff like, Men are so much visual so when they see stuff, they’re just like, Oh my gosh, that’s attractive, I have to have that. And I was like, What’s wrong with me then? Because I feel the same way. If I see something that I think is attractive, I’m just like, Zoom! And I just look at it. What’s wrong with me then?

Emily: There is nothing wrong with you, Kelsey.

Kelsey: No, because people made me think that. Wow, you are unusually horny for a girl. What’s wrong with you? [crosstalk 00:40:45]

Emily: That’s the biggest issue, is you’re not, though. All girls are like that too.

Kelsey: That’s a good point.

Emily: That’s a point too. Not all guys are horny like that, and not all girls are. There’s a mix of both and there’s a bit of a drive difference that’s pretty drastic from person to person. That drives me nuts. But that’s because girls are supposed to be demure and not say anything.

Jenn: Wow. My parents got over that a while ago. It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen. Onto our recommendation. Jessica Jones, season two. Have you seen it?

Mary: I’ve seen the first episode. I can’t wait to watch the rest of it. I just don’t know when I’m going to have time to.

Kelsey: I love Jessica Jones in general. I love the first season. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of Jessica Jones season two. It’s already awesome. I’m really excited for the rest of it. Talk about a strong character who can quote end quote “run with the boys.” Which is nice. And Jessica Jones has been such a great thing. I haven’t had a chance to actually sit down and watch season two yet because I have been swamped. But I am very excited to see where they take it and especially the fact that they have all female directors for every single episode. That is so cool. That is so cool. They were originally shooting for 50%. They wanted 50% female directors. And then, all of a sudden, they got all this outpouring support for it, and they just ended up with 100% female directors and that is so cool.

Emily: I like that they looked for 50% and then were like, Oh, there’s a lot more female directors that are really good than we expected.

Kelsey: My heart.

Emily: Because that happens. Oh! There are female directors? Wow!

Kelsey: That adds to the pendulum argument or statement. Sometimes in order for us to see these bad-ass women roles and how we want women to be portrayed, you need to get it from a female perspective. You need a female to direct a female. [crosstalk 00:42:50]

Emily: Grace and Frankie is hysterical. It’s so funny.

Kelsey: They never would have had older women doing a thing. That’s not something that would have happened if you didn’t have these two women who are so good and so funny together. We need to see more of that. Older women especially get the shaft. Especially anywhere from 30 till 60 or 70. [crosstalk 00:43:14] Once you’re like, Oh you’re old now? Cool, we can reuse you now. But Meryl Streep has been able to bounce through that her whole career, which I’ve always loved. She’s always been a strong woman role. It’s always been her. [crosstalk 00:43:28] But it’s hard for women to do that.

Emily: You have to look for those roles. They’re not there. They’re just not writing it.

Kelsey: I guess the whole thing about, Oh maybe we can have 50% directors and then finding out that they can have 100%. It kind of guess to the whole myth of meritocracy or the logical fallacy of meritocracy because so many people are like, Oh maybe there aren’t a whole lot of women directors because they don’t want to be or they’re not good at it. And the thing is, when you actually seek them out, you see. No, there’s a shit ton of them but people aren’t seeking them out or they’re not getting as much work. Rachel Morrison actually said at some point when she was talking about being a female DP and how that’s impacted her career about how she had to do so many films or get so many credits. She’d have six films at Sundance before she got certain phone calls. And she saw her male peers getting those phone calls way earlier. There’s this whole myth that, Oh maybe there just aren’t as many women in this position. The way to destroy that is to actually make a point. Look at this imbalance.

Jenn: There’s this tangential point that I need to make here. If we’re going back to Justice League slash Gal slash the whole Wonder Woman thing, Wonder Woman is so important and Black Panther is similarly so important because these are movies where we’ve got a female director or whatever. And it’s a woman movie for Wonder Woman. This is our only chance. If it had tanked and had not done well in the theaters and wasn’t good, we wouldn’t get another chance. [crosstalk 00:45:18]

Emily: That drives me nuts. Why does everybody have to come out to this movie just to get another chance to make a movie again? It’s just ridiculous. Michael Bay can make ten shitty movies. [crosstalk 00:45:27] They’ll still keep giving him money.

Jenn: Or the new Batman movies, the new Superman movies. They’re all garbage. And they get to continue making them! They’re like, Oh this is bad, and the other one is bad, and then Batman versus Superman was also terrible.

Emily: But if Wonder Woman is bad, forget it. All women in the world are the worst.

Jenn: All women are never going to get another comic movie because obviously they can’t handle the pressure of having their own movie. It’s not enough to carry the story or whatever. I just needed to feel bad for like five seconds there.

Emily: Boobs are strong enough to carry a story.

Jenn: Boobs are enough to carry the story.

Emily: Come on now.

Mary: Like Lara Croft.

Jenn: And now we’re back full-circle. [crosstalk 00:46:10]

Thanks for listening to Rack Focused. Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Rack Focused is brought to you by ECG Productions. Our intro is the Pink Everland Sky by Ladyland. Special thanks to our producer, Joe Dicasola and our editor, Kelsey Merriam. Follow us on Instagram @rackfocusedpodcast. You can find our show notes at ecgprod.com/rackfocused2

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