Women Grossly Underrepresented as Directors in Indie Films, Too

It’s not exactly news that women are underrepresented in the film industry, right? But it’s eye-popping when you take a good look at how truly stark the contrast is between males and females in directorial roles. My friend and the uber smart Melissa Silverstein showcases the truth of the matter in another great piece, this time about the representation of women in independent films. Previously released numbers showed that less than 5% of studio movies in the past five years were directed by women so, when looking at the independent film world, it was only natural to hope for a better turnout. And while in the indie genre, women are a tiny bit better represented, (10% of indie films having been directed by women from 2009-2013), that’s still a very small number....

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New Line Makes Clothes that Let Girls Be Kids

We’ve been talking a lot in society today on what’s wrong with the over-gendered marketing of toys to girls, which is awesome. But yet another thing that concerns our team of moms and does a disservice to our girls is the lack of appropriate clothing available to them. Have you shopped for girls’ shorts lately? Whoa, what an eye-opener! If you have, you know that many of the options for young girls at retail stores are overly-sexy, overly-frilly and mostly not practical in any way for an active girl to run, do, and play in. Walk into just about any mass retailer and you’ll see a girls’ department full of short shorts, skinny shorts, tight shorts, barely-there shorts, and overly-fitted, cap-sleeved t-shirts to go with them. What happened to clothes kids can...

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Teen Entrepreneur Changes the Shape of Girls Underwear

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll notice that we’re all pretty passionate about empowering girls. Our team is comprised of all women—women who also happen to be mothers of daughters, so that’s a no-brainer. Brenda has written about how toys are heavily over-gendered and we agree. We also think that clothes for girls need some massive redesign. Look in the size 7-16 girls’ department at any major retailer and you’ll be inundated with clothes that are short, tight, frilly, and glittery – and unfortunately, very form-fitting as well. As luck would have it, shortly after discovering Girls Will Be and their mission to change girls clothing options, we also learned about a company that’s striving to do this in the undergarment arena. Any mom who’s been in the “girls”...

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New Children’s Book Shows Kids How Different is Awesome

I’ve spent plenty of time here letting you know my thoughts on taking the heavy emphasis on gender out of marketing to kids; this is a topic that will always be important to me. There is something else I’d like to see emphasized in our culture – a push to educate kids on how differences make us unique and and original individuals. Despite lots of progress and change in media over the past decade, our kids are still presented with mostly “ideal” images of their peers in ads and television and film. Wouldn’t it be great to see more diversity, not only in race and gender, but in differences in ability as well? I can think of but one example of children with disabilities used in advertising off the top of my head and that’s simply not enough (shout out to...

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Toys ‘R’ Us Drops Gender-Specific Toy Labeling in the UK

It’s probably not a gigantic secret that I’d love to see better practices in the marketing of toys to girls. After all isn’t a toy just something to be played with? Why does it matter if a boy or a girl plays with it? We hold to the argument that toys should be made for children, not for gender. I ran across an article recently that talked about Toys ‘R’ Us in the United Kingdom and their decision o drop gender-specific toy labeling (it wasn’t breaking news, this was announced last fall, but I just stumbled across it as I was thinking about this recently). This was really a pretty ground-breaking announcement and came following a meeting between Toys ‘R’ Us board members and a wonderful consumer advocacy group called Let Toys Be Toys.  Let Toys Be Toys asserts...

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The Mask You Live In: Why This Film Matters for our Boys

In 2012, the brilliant Jennifer Siebel Newsom shed light on misogyny and media with her eye-opening documentary Miss Representation. This fantastic film showed us clearly how women and girls are being misrepresented in the media, and underscored that it’s time to teach our daughters AND sons a new viewpoint on real femininity. It also set the wheels in motion for Newsom’s next project – one that statistics show is badly needed. Her current film-in-progress is a documentary in the same vein as Miss Representation. The Mask You Live In is an exploration of masculinity in America which asks us as a society: How are we failing our boys? Recently popular girls’ and women’s self-esteem initiatives have gotten a lot of media attention, as well they should. These...

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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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