Leesa Dean: Women & Hollywood – Big News

Adventures in Digital Series Land – Chapter 102
by Leesa Dean

lana-rosie2So really big news: The ACLU has asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the systematic bias against women directors in Hollywood. They are saying it’s a violation of Title VII, which is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prevents employers from discriminating based on gender.

As Melissa Silverstein, a feminist, advocate for women in Hollywood and Artistic Director of the Athena Film Festival said, “It’s about f*cking time!”

I hope they investigate the bias against women writers.  It’s not as tough as it is for female directors, but still tough.  Julie Bush, who wrote for Sons of Anarchy and is currently writing an action feature for Universal talks about it all the time on her twitter feed (and even holds chats on periscope where it’s a big topic of conversation).

My grandmother was a feminist.  My mom was a feminist.  And because of her, I grew up thinking there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do (mostly, I think, because she hadn’t counted on me trying to succeed in Hollywood).

So when I decided to write my first script, the first thing I did was go to the Drama Bookstore. And the first person I met there was a female director. Did I mention she also was my salesperson?  That’s because in spite of being in the DGA, she could barely get work.

She said the first professional job she ever had was in Florida where she was booked to be an  AD (assistant director). The director kept asking her to get coffee from the craft service table for him, fetch personal items from his trailer and more throughout the entire shoot. And each time he did, he’d say, “Dear, would you mind getting me some coffee?” “Dear, could you pick up my sneakers and bring them here?”  “Dear, could you make a reservation for me for dinner later?”  She finally turned to him and said, “Do I look like I have a pair of f*cking antlers?!?”

Yeah, she got fired.  And that story, essentially, was my send-off into this crazy journey.

I’ve definitely experienced sexism in the business. A lot. Because of the way I was raised, I have a fairly thick skin about that kind of stuff. So when guys make inappropriate sexual remarks to me while working together, I generally diffuse them with humor and think to myself, “What an assh*le!!” And usually don’t work with that person again.

I haven’t gotten far enough to feel I’ve truly been discriminated against (especially with respect to getting hired).  But, in general, this is all a really really heartening thing.

Originally published on the Chilltown TV Blog.


Author: ChilltownTV

I'm primarily a writer. Sold a few series to tv networks and production companies but never had anything get on the air. So I taught myself how to animate and completed 3 digital series, launching two. The first, Chilltown has been named one of "Five Web Series That Should Be on Your Radar" by ABCNews/Univision and a "Show to Watch" by Tubefilter. The second, Lele's Ratchet Advice Show, garnered a fanatic cult following. As a result, I now do Lele's 60 Second Wrap Up, a weekly comedic entertainment report (which I write & perform) that airs on urban radio stations Rhythm 105.9fm and the Just Wake Up Morning Show on WWRNfm.

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