Update: Hit the break to see an update on this piece!
If you’re still reeling from this week’s reminder that there’s still a major gender gap at play in Hollywood, Twitter might have the antidote for your pain. The #HireTheseWomen hashtag has steadily been gaining steam over the past few days, and it’s not only proving that social media can be used for good, but that people really, really want to see more films from women. Even better? There are plenty of women who can make them.
Film critic Miriam Bale got the ball rolling earlier this week, as she began tweeting lists of talented women for Hollywood to hire, as inspired by that Women and Hollywood infographic that so simply and wrenchingly detailed the major gap that still exists between male and female directors in Hollywood. The thing has taken on a life of its own, with all sorts of other Twitter users weighing in, including a number of actual female directors and writers. It’s unquestionably the start of something great, and also the start of something very necessary.
Perhaps most interestingly, director Lexi Alexander posted her own list of women she’d like to see get more work, one that’s spread around the web and helped push the hashtag still further. Why is Alexander so important? Well, when we talk about barrier-busting female directors, that’s the kind of conversation that doesn’t get very far without mentioning Alexander, who is the only woman to direct a Marvel movie, 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. Alexander is a trailblazer, but that Hollywood has yet to employ another woman to helm a similarly splashy comic book movie is still a huge problem (not that we didn’t come close to another female-led franchise-starter — remember back when Patty Jenkins was going to direct the second Thor feature?).
Check out Alexander’s list — a solid mix of both film and television and writers and directors — below:
Update: Alexander reached out to us directly about her list, as she wanted to clarify a bit about who she put on their and why — check out her blog post about it.
A trip down the hashtag rabbit hole turns up all kinds of other great suggestions, from Lake Bell to Leah Meyerhoff to Nicole Holofcener to Sophia Takal. What’s most striking about the lists of women already being shared is the great depth of talent present there — there are just so many names, so many talented women who have made movies that people love, and still, we need to turn to social media to demand that they are even considered for more high profile gigs.
That’s the problem in a nutshell, that we have entire lists of women (binders even!) who are clearly talented, dedicated and inspiring, and that we need to take to Twitter to remind people (and Hollywood) that they are extremely worthy hires. That’s what the gender gap looks like.
The hashtag is also rife with engaging and usable resources — like a Pinterest board of female cinematographers and a sprawling Twitter list of female filmmakers — and both film fans and filmmakers making their desire for more female-led properties pretty damn plain. Still, the hashtag is not being used to deliver only inspiring names and stories, it’s also a home for far more upsetting tidbits. For instance, did you know that American Horror Story, a television series dominated by stunning female talent on-screen has never hired a woman to direct even a single episode? It’s true.
It may be just a hashtag for now (and I think we all know by now what “just” a hashtag can spread into), but #HireTheseWomen is already both a resource and a rallying cry, and it’s time that both you and Hollywood paid attention to it. Come on, take a look! No, really, take a look now, you won’t regret it.