Diary

Feminism

  • Being “Bossy”: Figuring Out When Being “Bossy” Is Okay

    As I previously mentioned, I’m trying this thing where I’m honest with myself about my problems, and I have to admit that I just don’t know the answers. Well actually, I do know the answers, the ultimate answers anyway, but I don’t know the answers on how to get to the ultimate answers.

    I am aware that I like to be in control. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be the leader of the group. It’s not always great because it usually means you have to do most of the work and pick up other’s slack, but being in-charge gave me a feeling of comfort that I preferred.

    When you’re a girl, wanting to be in control gets you labeled as bossy. I’ve been called bossy all my life, and it never really bothered me. For the most part, I’m glad it didn’t because I was able to hone my leadership skills without being aware that it was actually a discouraging word for girls.

    But now, at 26, it looks like I’m having some trouble with the word.

    My boyfriend has always called me bossy, and much like when I was growing up, it’s never bothered me. Bossy doesn't have a negative effect on me. Like Amy Poehler, I believe that bossy women are passionate and ambitious and caring, and I am all of those things. But sometimes my bossiness gets the better of me, and it feeds the control freak inside of me, which is a recipe for disaster in a romantic relationship. And that bothers me. 

    The thing is, when you’re in a relationship, being bossy isn’t actually a good thing, for men or women. This is not to say that I want to be bossed around. Absolutely not. But I, and this is super hard for me to admit, have a very hard time letting go of control. And this has always been a problem in my personal relationships, whether it's friends or boyfriends. But I've never totally been aware of the problem, until now.

    Here's what I want, honestly: I don't want to be upset when things don’t go my way. It’s so childish to get angry when people don’t do things your way. But when you’re as stubborn as you are a control freak, it’s really hard to just ungrudgingly accept something else.

    Perspective changes everything. If you look at my issues from a professional perspective, they actually look like strengths. In my job, I want to be someone who takes charge. If there’s an issue that needs to be solved, I need to be stubborn in order to get what I want. But when you look at it from a different perspective, the personal one, these same issues turn into weaknesses. Sure, I want to be with a man who takes charge, but not so much that I get bossed around. And no one wants to be with someone who’s too stubborn to apologize or recognize a mistake when they’ve made one. So, how do you rid yourself of these feelings for one section of your life, but keep them well and healthy in another? How do you know when it’s right to pull out your stubbornness, or put it away? How do you know when it’s okay to be bossy or let go of control?

    Maybe I'll never know.

    But the older I get, the easier it is for me to identify my tendencies, good and bad. And I’m really trying to find a way to use my good and bad tendencies at the right time. Maybe I’m going after the impossible, maybe I should just be bossy and a control freak and stubborn, and hope it doesn't lead me to self-destruction. Or maybe I should think of these tendencies as guns, that should be used when absolutely necessary and kept locked up the rest of the time. Now that's something I could get behind. 

  • A Woman Thing: Feeling Like A Ball Inside A Pinball Machine

    Photo by Tyler Spangler

    Disclaimer: I haven't done my research, and while I love doing research, right now, I just want to write about the feelings accumulating up inside of me. Here goes:

    I'm starting to think that the idea of telling personal stories through film isn't the way to go (or very smart, maybe that’s a given). They seldom get financial backing and no one seems to want to watch them, especially if they come from a woman. It's like, they know. Also, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg didn't get their start by telling "personal stories" did they? I know the answer to this, but I'm feeling so insecure about myself, about being a woman working in the film industry, that I just can't say for sure. I'm sure they started by telling these cool high-concept stories. That's because men are less attached, less emotional. I'm not speaking specifically: I know many emotional, needy men, but I mean, as a whole. 

    Ugh. 

    I often wonder if things were always like this, but I just wasn’t tuned into the noise. Now, I'm so tuned in. I follow everything like a dog tracing a smell. It's distracting, but also inspiring, when I get lucky. 

    I work for two independent male filmmakers, and they have it hard. I guess getting financial backing to make a film is hard for everyone. But when I look at the broader picture, I know that women just have it harder. I read the blogs on the regular, and whenever there’s some rumor about a woman getting a big Hollywood directing-gig, it’s like a huge deal. So big you read it in the headline: “Marvel Considering Female Director For ‘Black Panther’ Movie”. You’ll never find a headline that says, “Disney’s Next Film Finds Male Director”. That just doesn’t happen.

    Here’s where I insert a clip of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”

    I get so frustrated with myself about things like this, and then with the industry, which is more like an institution. I have great ideas all the time, but I shoot them down before I even begin the project because I know that all of the odds are against me. I know it sounds like a terrible defeatist attitude, but this is the reality. These attitudes and feelings have been embedded into my female DNA. No, I wasn’t alive during the 19th and most of the 20th century, when women couldn’t vote or go to certain schools or things like that. But it's like the chromosomes that make up my gender just know that these things happened to those that came before them: You’re a women, therefore you are less than. You can keep trying, but it’ll be a long time before you get what you want.

    And this feeling of oppression and defeat often makes me feel like I have all of the anxieties of an artist, but no real talent. I feel like a ball inside a pinball machine, where the flippers are the blocks that continuously keep me from creating something. It’s a joke because I just get bounced from one to the other and then back again. Once in a while, I make it out, without hitting these walls. I get an idea and I start a project and I put it out there, but then I'm back inside the playfield, feeling insecure all over again. 

    I wish there was a place, a community where I could connect with other women like me, who want to be filmmakers, but feel the way I do about the whole thing. I guess, if you're out there, let me know.