Introducing The Complex Female Protagonist Roars
This year, I got a stall at the local queer fair Out in The Park, to sell my neonics-free bee-loved flowering plants, another artist's beautiful work and this cap, which I had made in New Zealand from a design by the Bluestocking Film Series, thanks to its director, Kate Kaminski. The fair was postponed – Wellington wind – so I distributed some caps to family and Facebook friends. I’m delighted that the new owners tell me stories about when they choose to wear the caps, how they feel wearing them, the responses of those they meet when wearing them. Wearing a cap with the Complex Female Protagonist slogan has many effects. I love it.
Last year, when I wrote Get Your Hopes Up, near International Women’s Day, I recalled what David Mamet wrote, about drama being about the creation and deferment of hope. This year, because of those caps and the stories their owners tell me, my mind and heart are on the Complex Female Protagonist. So I’m writing three posts. This first post moves on from hope, to explore some characteristics of the the delightful collective Complex Female Protagonist-working-for-change-in-long-form-screen-storytelling (henceforth 'the Activist CFP'), from as much of the globe as I can access. Who is she, right now – the informal and ever-changing collective of activists who work to increase the volume, diversity and quality of screen storytelling by women writers and directors, often focusing on women and girls?
And why does this Activist CFP ‘roar’? I’m thinking back years, to the first time I found CampbellX’s BlackmanVision website and its header ‘When the Lioness Can Tell Her Story, The Hunter No Longer Controls The Tale’. Today the lioness roars without cease, thanks to the Activist CFP.
In the second post, I’ll write about equity and public funding for screen storytelling, with reference to the research I’ve done on women’s film funds and women’s studios. That’s because I’m in New Zealand, where, thanks to Jane Campion’s commitment as a member of the national Screen Advisory Board, the New Zealand Film Commission will today announce its very first gender policy. Yes, we’ll roar anyway. But we’re entitled to an equal share of taxpayer funding to do that.
The third post considers what might happen if we have equal numbers of screen stories by women and men. In New Zealand, (white) women poets now publish as many books of poetry as men do. How did this happen? What effects does it have?