MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Box Office Boobage

Every week, when I go around to the various sites from which we pull the numbers for Box Office Hell, my second stop is Box Office Prophets. And every week, when I go to that site, I see in the left-hand box on their homepage a little box labled “This is So Last Week,” their pop-culture quiz. Now, the words “pop culture” can evoke a lot of different things, right? Yet every single week (or at least, every single week since I started really paying attention to this) the picture in that box features a scantily clad, usually buxom woman, with an emphasis on boobs and cleavage.

I mean, I get that this is a site devoted to pop culture and Hollywood, but aren’t even those things about more than women’s boobs? Why are boobs what’s featured in the most prominent visual spot on their home page every single week? This bullshit pandering to the male libido, the reduction of women consistently to being only important when they’re revealing their cleavage for the visual stimulation of men, continues to be problematic in the film industry, particularly in a year when even the Indie Spirit nominations failed to recognize a SINGLE female director outside the Cassavetes category (for Pariah and Circumstance). So many strong, visionary, artistic female directors they could have chosen to recognize under Best Director — not least of all Lynne Ramsay for We Need to Talk About Kevin, Megan Griffiths for her excellent first feature The Off Hours, Miranda July for The Future, Dee Rees for Pariah, Sophia Takal for her low-budget breakthrough, Green. And they couldn’t figure out a way to recognize a SINGLE woman in the director’s categories for the Indie Spirits, even in Best First Feature? Natural Selection and Another Earth are both good films, yes, but are they better directed than Pariah? Than The Off Hours? Than We Need to Talk About Kevin?

I mean, criminy. I’m not advocating for quotas or anything, but could those nominations be any more white and male? Are stories from female and minority voices so unimportant that even an awards event supposedly dedicated to independent cinema can’t make room for their perspectives? It’s like those perpetual goddamned panels at film festivals where they cull out the female directors and writers and actors into a “women’s” panel and then the moderator asks dumbass questions like “So, what’s it like to be a female director?” You mean, what’s it like to write a story and direct a cast and crew, with all that cleavage always getting in the way? About what it’s like to be a guy with a penis to keep tucked into his boxers, I imagine. Just higher up. Neither has anything to do with the brains in your head. Everything in life does not have to be about sex and gender. So why does our industry continue to marginalize female artists?

This male domination of even the indie film world is something that is not going to change until and unless enough people keep bitching about it and force that change. Occupy Independent Film, people. Or hey, maybe we just need to follow the lead of sites like Box Office Prophets, where women are consistently reduced to tits and ass, and Film Independent should add a “Female Director with Best Cleavage” award. Maybe then we’d actually see some women get nominated, eh?

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3 Responses to “Box Office Boobage”

  1. Keil Shults says:

    This page did not deliver on the promise made by the link’s title. Where’s my lawyer?

  2. Kim Voynar says:

    Sorry, Keil. Next time I’ll skip the thinking and writing and just put up a montage of boobs.

  3. Keil Shults says:

    Consider my lawsuit withdrawn. 😉

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon