Shameless Plug: Our crowdfunding campaign ends this Wednesday 4/22 at 1:11pm Pacific, and we have to hit 80% of our goal to get the contributed funds. Please help us hit this goal, even $5 helps get us closer! This film can help people and save lives, and it's (obviously) very dear to my heart. The first scene of the movie, information about our cast & crew and so much more is here: http://www.seedandspark.com/studio/average-girls-guide-suicide.
Quick Dating Update: Still not dating. I've been focusing on work, and the most recent guy from OkCupid who seemed interesting still hasn't asked me out on a date after a month of emailing back and forth. Notice the past tense on "seemed interesting." I don't have time for that ish!
Alright, now for "Being Bossy, Unbreakable, and Daring Greatly":
Occasionally recently I’ve wondered, “Am I being bossy?” I’m a writer/director/producer, currently crowdfunding for my first feature film The Average Girl’s Guide to Suicide, and the sole manager of the LLC for our film. So, I am a boss. (Not like this but a bit like a #bosswitch) But as Sheryl Sandberg’s Ban Bossy campaign states, “When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’” As a 28-year-old, I can vouch that it’s not just little girls that are affected by “bossy.” I’m trying to Ban Bossy in my own brain (or accept that I am a boss and it’s ok if I’m “bossy”) and it got me thinking about our society’s gender expectations and how they can hold all of us back.
In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she writes that according to society’s rules women have to “be willing to stay as small, sweet, and quiet as possible, and use our time and talent to look pretty.” This made me laugh out loud, because A) I have often felt pressure to be as small, sweet, and quiet as possible, and use my time and talents to look pretty, and B) as a director you generally should not try to be as small, sweet, and quiet as possible or use your time or talents to look pretty. It’s not bad to be small/sweet/quiet/pretty if that’s your nature, but forcing yourself to be as small or quiet as possible is rarely conducive to getting a movie made. Personally I’m not small, not often quiet, I try to be kind (but not saccharin sweet), and I’m no beauty queen. As we’ve been expanding our team, talking to more people about the film, and crowdfunding, I’m constantly running into the societal expectations embedded in my brain. Self-promotion is not small, sweet, or quiet. Making a dark comedy about suicide is not small, sweet, or quiet. Asking people for money is not small, sweet or quiet.
(Behind the scenes of making the teaser video for The Average Girl’s Guide to Suicide.)
Luckily I’m not alone in this struggle. Brené Brown writes: “…every successful woman whom I’ve interviewed has talked to be about the sometimes daily struggle to push past ‘the rules’ so she can assert herself, advocate for her ideas, and feel comfortable with her power and gifts.” If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you can relate also. Think about how incongruous it is for female CEOs, doctors, or fighter pilots to be concerned with being small/sweet/quiet/pretty. I hope you just laughed. Perhaps the next time you feel pressure in your own life to be small/sweet/quiet/pretty, remind yourself of that laugh you just had.
Women aren't the only ones who are hampered by society’s expectations; “the rules” for men can be just as suffocating as “the rules” for women. According to Brown these expectations for men can be summed up as: don’t be wrong, don’t be weak, and don’t show fear. If men step outside those lines, they are often shamed. The more I've leaned into leadership roles, the more I've felt these expectations too and they aren't fun. Recently I felt so scared about whether we would hit our crowdfunding campaign goal, and felt like I needed to keep a brave face for everyone else and not show my fear. Then I realized the trap I was falling into. I’m lucky to have friends and family who are there for me, and even several friends who have told me that the middle of a crowdfunding is a terrifying desert. Getting support from friends and family and remembering that I’m not alone help me get out of shame spirals.
|(The ever-inspiring Brené Brown.)|
Recently there’s a new strong feminine heroine: the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She encourages others to pursue their dreams, and determinedly pursues her own. She likes helping people, she’s good at it, and she also takes care of herself. She’s strong because when she gets knocked down, she gets back up. Kimmy Schmidt shows that being kind, optimistic, and supportive can be part of being strong.
|(A little rain won’t stop The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!)|
As a woman and a writer, it’s encouraging to see strong and empathetic characters. My film is about a young woman’s journey to accept herself and create a life she wants to live, and it took several years of working on the script (and “doing the work” in my life) to really understand what self-acceptance feels like. It’s easier to write about a character accepting herself than to accept myself, and it’s still something I work on every day. I love how fictional characters can help teach us in our real lives, and my characters continue to teach me. They push me and challenge me to be as brave as they are, and I hope they can inspire you too.