The phrase “Female Director” kind of pisses me off. I know how naïve that makes me. I don’t know how Hollywood works except from what I’ve read, but I do know there’s nothing inherently masculine about the title of Director. I know that every last director I worked with through school, save two, were women. The academic world rarely resembles the real world, of course. It can take generations for the ways of the ivory tower to trickle down into the mainstream.
That’s why, when Ronald D. Moore says that he insisted that the director of The Wedding be a woman, I have to put my initial gut reaction aside and applaud. What I would have given to hear him say something more like, “I wanted the best-qualified director available for this assignment, and the best-qualified director was Anna Forrester.” She was, after all, given the evidence of the spectacular work that made it to screen. Any way you look at it—the performances, the cinematography, the costumes, the lighting, the editing—I just can’t imagine anyone having done a better job.
We’re not to the point that Moore could have said what I’d wanted to hear him say, however, any more than we can pretend pay equity exists or that we live in a post-feminist era. Until we reach a time in which a term like “female gaze” is not only irrelevant but absurd, entertainment will need Moore-like strategy to tell stories authentically. It is, and it will continue to be vitally important that leadership choices are made, conscientiously regarding gender (not to mention race, religion, economic history, sexual identity and orientation, etc.) as a vital component of the eventual script, episode, film, or a franchise. May we one day get to a point that Kathryn Bigelow directing The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty is just as unremarkable as Rob Reiner directing a so-called chick-flick.