Women in Hollywood.

by Meredith O'Brien



I spend countless hours watching Boston Red Sox games on TV, like 24, The Godfather, Mad Men and Rescue Me, and think The Hurt Locker deserved its best picture Oscar.


However I also cried at those Olympic mom TV ads, watch Grey’s Anatomy, love thirtysomething, was entertained by It’s Complicated and even, I’m embarrassed to admit, by Twilight. (Wasn’t as big of a fan of New Moon, though.)


The first paragraph represents a list of what’s stereotypically considered “men’s fare,” sports programming as well as TV shows and movies whose scenes are peppered with violence and feature a good guys/bad guys dynamic with deeply flawed yet uber-masculine male characters. The second paragraph represents what’s typically called “women’s fare,” oftentimes derided as of the “chick flick” variety, stuff which supposedly no self-respecting man would be caught dead watching because they examine relationships and families.


Kathryn Bigelow just made history for being the first woman to win a best director Oscar. She was rewarded for her work on The Hurt Locker, which focused on an American bomb detonation squad serving in hellish conditions during the Iraq War. Though this movie most definitely falls into the “male fare” category, everyone from the film’s stars to Bigelow’s ex-husband (also nominated for best director for Avatar) said Bigelow’s gender was irrelevant because she made a seriously butt-kicking film.


But to many people -- other than the ones who were celebrating her breaking-the-glass-ceiling win -- her gender mattered greatly because she received her Oscar for The Hurt Locker, a war movie which captured men’s perspectives. Bigelow has taken flak from people because she made what they considered to be Hollywood cowboy movie which blew off the sisterhood. One critic, Martha P. Nochimson formerly of New York University writing on Salon went so far as to call Bigelow a “transvestite” who seemed to be “masquerading as the baddest boy on the block to win the respect of an industry still hobbled by gender-specific tunnel vision that it has trouble admiring anything but filmmaking soaked in a reduced notion of masculinity.”