February 1st marked the start of Black History Month. So for this month's theme week, we thought it was the perfect time to highlight all women of color in film and television.
Here at Bitch Flicks, we often discuss the lack of female filmmakers and the need for women-centric films. We need more women directors, writers and protagonists. But we desperately need more women of color in front of and behind the camera. When studies on women in media are conducted, the numbers typically don't take into account the number of women of color. Out of the top 250 grossing films, women as a whole only comprise 9% of directors and 15% of writers and 33% of speaking roles. On TV in 2011, 15% of writers were women, women directed only 11% of TV episodes whilewomen of color only directed 1% (yep, you read that right...1%). Abysmal.
Sadly, film and TV often relegates women of color to racist and sexist tropes. Black women often appear on-screen as maids, hyper-sexual or the "sassy" sidekick. Latina women also appear as maids and with "fiery" tempers. It's time to end these stereotypes. While women filmmakers don’t merely depict female protagonists, when more women are behind the camera, we tend to see more women in front of the camera. When we have more women of color as writers, directors and producers, we'll also see more diverse representations of women of color on-screen.
When people talk about the need for more women in media, they often mean white women. When we talk about the need for more women on-screen and more women-created media, we shouldn't be satisfied with white female leads and white female directors. We must see women of all races, created by women of all races.
So we want to focus on celebrating as well as critiquing the role of women of color in film and TV. Here are some suggested films and television series -- but feel free to suggest your own!
The Color Purple
Middle of Nowhere
What's Love Got to Do with It?
The Cosby Show
Lady Sings the Blues
Daughters of the Dust
Night Catches Us
Real Women Have Curves
Mi Vida Loca
Do the Right Thing
Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Bend It Like Beckham
A Different World
I Like It Like That
For Colored Girls
Jumping the Broom
Maria Full of Grace
Half and Half
Love and Basketball
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
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--We like most of our pieces to be 1,000 - 2,000 words, preferably with some images and links.
--Please send your piece in the text of an email, including links to all images, no later than Friday, February, 22nd.
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