The Legacies We Leave

Mad-Brandy-Serious-Winter

Feminism plays a big role in my life. I spend my days advocating for inclusive and feminist views in the entertainment industry. I run a twitter account called The Bitch Pack, an online space for women in film.

It all began when I was in school. I observed first-hand conduct that was unacceptable to me. I was in screenwriting class when a male classmate and male teacher laughed out loud about dispensable “female assistant” characters. I saw female classmates laugh along.

I wasn’t sure why they laughed — was it to avoid upsetting the “balance” or maybe to “stay in the good graces” of sexists? What I was sure about was that it made me feel really uneasy. It showed me a microcosm of one of society’s systematic problems: women condoning sexism and thus perpetuating it.

I’ve learned that choosing what to show audiences affects how people treat each other, so I began to advocate not just for “strong female characters,” but for real and ethnically diverse ones. Characters just like the women we all have in our lives, not imagined types of women sexist writers would like to display for their pleasure. The way some writers describe women characters so blatantly in the male-gaze really shows they think of women as ornaments to their stories.

Another time, also in school, I spoke up about championing women’s rights. A male classmate and my male teacher responded by calling people who do that “whiny.” I couldn’t believe my ears. This is, of course, the old patriarchy. Older men affirming sexist beliefs of younger men — it’s despicable and happens all the time. Overt sexism perpetuated by “respectable people.”

I often notice white women reaffirming men’s sexism too. Not just within the academic world, either. It’s everywhere and it’s detrimental to our society. I’ve realized that, in general, if women cannot stand up for other women who do not look like them, no one wins.

Thankfully, we’re really starting to move into this next, more inclusive, wave of feminism. What’s even greater is that it’s happening both online and in the streets. Women and our allies are stepping up by defending others and going to marches.

I think people are starting to feel more free to call out micro-aggressions and racism and sexism in media, in film, and in real life. This kind of solidarity has never been more clear to me as this year, with a self-admitted “pussy-grabber” sitting in our nation’s highest office.

With The Bitch Pack, I am using my interests and strengths contribute to this movement by uplifting feminist stories, especially ones centered on Women of Color.

Annually, I collect nominations for The Bitch List which features screenplays and teleplays that highlight women’s tales. You can read more about this in an Indiewire feature. I also began an initiative to discover more Women of Color lead screenplays and even had one of my pieces highlighted.

My work isn’t straightforward or simple, though, and neither is feminism. We need to be thoughtful, always. Using Women of Color as entertainment without their input, or excluding them to maintain the status quo have gotten us nowhere. I think we need to ask ourselves, “What legacies do we want to leave?”

Thuc Nguyen Obvi We're The Ladies Contributor
Thuc Doan Nguyen lives in Los Angeles where she runs TheBitchPack.com and writes for The Toni Lahren Show (don’t worry- it’s a one letter off parody). Thuc believes that women’s voices and the power of storytelling can change lives and society. She’s at @biatchpack
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