Why every female filmmaker owes a part of their career to these 6 brave women.

Fact: The movie business is run by straight white guys.

It's not just a feeling, it's a well-documented phenomenon.

According to a study released by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, around 75% of the top executives at film studios are men. And only 3.4% of all film directors and 10.8% of film screenwriters are women. Oh and just in case you forgot, women make up about 50% of the population.


Just a few of the middle-aged white guys making decisions about the movies you see. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon.

And while Hollywood's sexism problem is all over the news these days, many people forget that there are women who've been in this fight for close to 40 years.

In 1979, six women filmmakers put their careers on the line and took on sexism in the industry.

Dubbed, "The Original Six," these directors (Susan Bay Nimoy, Joelle Dobrow, Nell Cox, Dolores Ferraro, Vicki Hochberg, and Lynne Littman) pushed for groundbreaking research on the number of women behind the scenes in filmmaking. Their findings eventually lead to a lawsuit against Warner Brothers and Paramount in 1983.

The suit was dismissed in court in 1985, based on counterclaims from the studios. (The studios said they weren't in charge of all the hiring decisions and couldn't be accused of discrimination.)

Despite the setback, the lawsuit started a conversation — one that's been happening in whispers and screams for decades.

So what do The Original Six have to say about the current state of Hollywood? Plenty.

Four of the women, Dobrow, Cox, Littman, and Hochberg, sat down for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit. They sifted through dozens of questions (and thousands of comments from redditors who refuse to believe sexism exists) to give their thoughts on the industry.

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Whether you're in the biz or you just catch movies on Netflix, the women delivered five truths on equality, Hollywood, and social justice that everyone should hear.

1. The fight for equality may be won in waves, and that's OK.

This isn't as simple as "women directors now, everyone else when the time is right" because it's not just representation behind the camera. Strong characters and role models in film are helping to shift the momentum too.

"Victoria here: I am going to speak about role models in movies. We now have Katniss who courageously defends her people with a weapon, Ray [sic] who can pilot a space ship better than Han Solo, and Furiosa who deliberately goes off track to protect other women. There is no way a young girl watching these films will accept that she can't do something like direct movies. I can't wait to see the current ten year olds when someone tells them that."

A fan poses with a wax figure of "The Hunger Games'" Katniss Everdeen. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds.

2. Don't get mad. Get mad and creative.

Half of film school grads are women but less than 2% of the top-grossing films of 2013 and 2014 were directed by women. That may be a discouraging disconnect, but the tide is shifting toward scrappy, creative producers, directors, and writers.

Take 31-year-old jill-of-all-trades Issa Rae. She developed her own web series, "Awkward Black Girl" in 2011. Her show caught the attention of Pharrell Williams and other influencers. She's now working on a comedy pilot and recently joined forces with HBO on an opportunity to give other traditionally underrepresented creatives an opportunity in the television industry.

"Victoria here: The world has changed. But basic truths remain. Change happens when the haves are forced to share. That is brought about in many different ways: Constant protest, demanding accountability, legal assaults. Entry level positions (episodic tv) are still very bad for women. Make your own film and be your own Hollywood via your cell phone (camera) and computer (editing and distribution). Just remember- you are supported by all woman of good will."

Rae at the 2016 Essence Black Women In Hollywood awards luncheon. Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for Essence.

3. Your cause may be important, but it's not always the most important.

When a redditor asked if women directors should push the UN Commission on the Status of Women to help them achieve 50/50 representation in Hollywood by 2020, Littman effectively said, "pump the brakes." In the scheme of things, this effort is about women finding fulfilling creative work, a drop in the problem-bucket when women are being killed, assaulted, and disenfranchised around the world. It doesn't mean you stop trying, it just means other victories are life and death, so this one may not be a priority for everyone all the time.

"Lynne here: Among Chris Rock's most brilliant comments on the Oscar telecast: 'When your gramma is swinging from a tree, don't worry about who won best cinematographer.... etc.' The UN Commission should be concerned with saving women's lives, ending honor killings, female mutilation and voting rights. AND ... 50/50 by 2020 is Science Fiction."

Demonstrators protest violence against women on International Women's Day. Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Hey dudes, you have a part to play in this too.

It's not solely up to women to dismantle systemic sexism. I'll say it again for the good of the group: It's not solely up to women to dismantle systemic sexism. Allies are vital!

One redditor highlighted director/producer J.J. Abrams who said ahead of his next projects, he wants agents to send him lists of directors, writers, and producers that better represent the true makeup of the country.

Not surprisingly, The Original Six are totally on board with Abrams and any other male allies who believe in the cause.

"Lynne here: I think it's GREAT! Doesn't matter how we get there. Creative producers with power eliminate the middle-men — they can hire us directly. Bravo!"

J.J. Abrams speaks at South By Southwest. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW.

5. Want to fight for equality? Stir the pot and help other women.

When asked what the most important thing women could do to improve equality, Hochberg said disruption and connection are paramount.

"Victoria here: The most important thing for all of us to do is to NOT accept the status quo. Also, women must help other women. Women who can, must hire other women. Also, push for diversity casting."

A toast among guests at Glamour's Women Rewriting Hollywood Lunch at Sundance. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Glamour.

Though The Original Six are still working as creative professionals and fighting for equality, last year the federal government picked up where they left off.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began interviewing women directors last fall to see what, if any, course of action they should pursue to ensure these large production companies comply with the Civil Rights Act. On paper, it looks like the studios may be breaking Title VII, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, national origin, or religion.

There's more to come in this case, but whether the government intervenes or not, there's a lot we can do to support and encourage women-led projects.

Seek them out. Buy tickets. Share great work. Together, we'll win.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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