Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday, our weekly column where we get to share a handful of videos we are loving right now. This week, we decided to focus on one video series from TIME magazine called ‘Firsts’, which is all about highlighting the work of pioneer women in a range of different industries and fields.
We are always excited to promote content that focuses on women, because visual representation and role models matter. When you look at mainstream media and entertainment, it is still very male-centric and male-driven. The male gaze still dominates much of Hollywood as well as newsmedia. Women’s voices are certainly not represented in equal measure, as numerous studies have shown.
In light of the recent presidential election which inspired the Women’s March the day after the January 21st inauguration, it’s clear women are rising up like never before on a global scale and are determined to secure their seat at the table. TIME’s series includes a bunch of badass ladies such as Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Sheryl Sandberg, Mae Jemison, Selena Gomez, Barbara Walters, Serena Williams, Mo’ne Davis, and many more.
‘Firsts’ is a celebrated of women who are changing the world, with videos produced by Diane Tsai and Spencer Bakalar, and photographs by Luisa Dörr. Under the heading “She broke the glass ceiling”, there is a description beautifully summing up what this special project is all about.
“What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome. Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to find someone whose presence in the highest reaches of success says to her that it is safe to climb, come on up, the view is spectacular,” it reads.
We wanted to share three of our fave videos from the series, particularly those focused on women of color because intersectionality and elevated marginalized voices is important to us. The first video is about Ilhan Omar, who is the first Somali-American Muslim person to become a legislator. The former refugee and immigrant was elected a Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party member of the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016.
The second woman we wanted to highlight was director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’. She is the first woman to solo-direct a major Hollywood animated feature. ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ (released in 2011) is the second-highest grossing film directed by a woman, only recently surpassed by director Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman’. Talk about girl power in Hollywood!
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shared this quote as part of her interview: “There is plenty of room in the world for mediocre men, but there is no room for mediocre women.” As a pioneer woman in the former role she occupied during the President Bill Clinton’s administration, she knows all too well what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated profession where your gender means you have to go the extra mile to prove to society you are capable.
This is why the ‘Firsts’ series is so important. Women of all ages get to learn about women who have worked hard to break barriers and disrupt stereotypes and expectations to make space where there was none before. The final video we wanted to share is about Candis Cayne, the first transgender woman with a role on prime-time television. She began her career as a dancer in New York City, and is now known for her role on ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ and appearances on ‘I Am Cait’.
Be sure to check out all the other women on the ‘Firsts’ landing page. You can also purchase a book of the entire project by scrolling down to the bottom of the site.