Camp Reel Stories Gives Film a Female-Filled Future

2013 was a great year for women in film. Female-directed Frozen won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (yay, Jennifer Lee!) and films with strong female roles like Gravity and Catching Fire were hits at the box office. These are wonderful achievements, yet the grim statistics about the percentage of women behind the camera and about the quality of female roles in front of the camera must be reversed. Fortunately, there’s a program in Oakland, California for girls aged 13-18 who want to get into media that aims to change those statistics. It’s called Camp Reel Stories, and it is changing the way women will be involved with and portrayed in the media in the next generation. Camp Reel Stories is a non-profit summer program designed to empower and equip...

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Redefining Girly: Play with Tools in Your Tutu

The photoshopped images and female stereotypes our girls are inundated with today in the media and on retail shelves are skewed and unhealthy; while this is no secret, it’s been a very tough trend to turn around. But we have seen progress: the Brave Girls Alliance, Miss Representation, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media are all making great strides. And as I’ve mentioned before, a wonderful book called Redefining Girly by Melissa Atkins Wardy is on shelves to help parents steer their child toward pursuing what they’re interested in, rather than what they’re “supposed” to be interested in. It was exciting to see that Melissa and family psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein recently appeared on the Today Show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford to...

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“Average” Doll Smashes Crowdfunding Goal and Raises Hopes

It’s no secret that change in the way toys are marketed to children – especially girls – is vitally important to me. And I’m happy to admit, that even as I typed that sentence I had to smile with hope. The events of this past year, from the success of the #BraveGirlsWant initiative to the popularity of the STEM learning initiatives aimed at girls, to the attention being garnered by efforts like Miss Representation and the new book Redefining Girly — all have given me hope that change is coming, and soon. But this story, this very true tale I have to tell is the one that fuels my optimism most. It’s the story of an “average” doll, created and made to the average proportions of a 19-year-old American woman.  A doll that was wanted and needed and longed for so...

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A Peek into my Mind: My Interview with SplineBomb.com

It can be both exciting and humbling to reflect on my career and look back at how I got to where I am today. There were both thrills and bumps along that road, but I’m very thankful to where it’s lead. Recently artist and character designer Ryan Adams interviewed me about my career. He covered some topics I haven’t visited in awhile, so it was a great trip down memory lane. An excerpt is below, and you can click through to SplineBomb for the whole interview. Thanks for allowing me to share my reflections with you! From SplineBomb.com, originally published March 12, 2014 Here’s one of many interviews that has been coming for a while. Our awesome friend, Ryan Adams, took time out of his busy schedule to chat with Brenda Chapman. In 1998, she became the first woman...

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I Remember the Exact Moment I Became a Feminist

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of taking the stage at yet another TEDx event at UC Berkeley. The theme of the day for TEDxBerkeley was “Rethink. Redefine. Recreate.” and it’s one I took to heart. My talk was called “Observation and Change” and it focused on something that’s become essential in my personal and professional life: observing what needs to be changed and then working to fix it. As I said in my talk, which you can view below – there are a lot of things in this world that need to be changed, and it’s absolutely overwhelming. Can you fix them all? No. But what you can do, and what you must do is take that one thing that keeps you awake at night and do something about it. My example? Disney movies. I loved them as a child – Snow White,...

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