Meet Hannah and Mackenzie, two women standing at the intersection of legacy media and new tech, making "Internet odysseys," such as their new Web series Whatever, Linda, alongside television and films. Read more about their journey at tgam.ca/whateverlinda. Here, Hannah reflects on her visit to the Women Making Waves conference in Halifax.
A few weekends ago, I headlined the Women in Film & Television Atlantic chapter's Women Making Waves conference. The conference (and indeed, WIFT in general) seeks to connect women at all levels, working in all areas of film/TV/digital, in order to foster a community across Canada and the world.
Halifax saw me meeting a variety of women writers, directors, digital entrepreneurs, transport co-ordinators, casting directors, funders etc. My time there was great: I had a lot of fun speaking with local journalist and musician Tara Thorne during my panel, and left feeling quite inspired by the whole event.
But it also got me thinking. How does the "ghettoization" of communities, divided along gendered or ethnic or any type of minority lines, serve us?
As a woman who identifies as a feminist, and works in a male-dominated industry, where and how I gather confidence and build my skillsets is important; believing "I can" against stacked odds is part of the magical mixture of success.
And certainly I've gained much from teaming up with like-minded – and like-gendered – people: assisting a female director for a year helped me with the whole "see it to believe it" thing; my creative and business partner, Mackenzie, is a woman who's whip-smart and a dogged worker (I trust her implicitly); sharing stories and seeking solutions at WIFT-AT gave me some fight to push on.
Community of any kind can give us a space to speak freely, let our guards down, recharge and build networks to help get work done. But does it create diversity, both within and without an organization? Within, the perils of group-think abound; without, is creative equality shifting?
Most likely, it's in the larger context of society that change foments. Confident industry woman meets feminist industry man, and smash-boom-bang! Good things happen.
Personally, I love me some good ol' lady-worker ra-ra-ra-ing in order to share knowledge, build stronger networks and identify needs that we will work to fulfill. But I don't want to dwell in a ghetto all the time. A good many of the people in my life who help me "think I can" are men. And actually, they're keepers of a lot of the world's knowledge. We need men to share that knowledge so that women, so long relegated to the private sphere, can run the same race until we catch up.
For me, this is where the edges meet that revolution starts.