Martha Coolidge is best known for directing such films as Material Girls and Valley Girl, in addition to directing TV shows like Sex and the City and Madam Secretary. Coolidge was also the president of the Directors Guild of America from 2002 to 2003 and is currently the only woman to have ever helmed the DGA.
In the wake of the ACLU claiming to have proof of a gender bias towards hiring male film and television directors, Coolidge maintains that the DGA is not to blame. Coolidge recently told deadline.com, "The DGA has worked harder and thrown more money at trying to solve the problems of discriminatory employment than anyone else in the industry."
In the interview, Coolidge urges people to look more closely at those responsible for employing directors, saying, "Hiring is the trickiest problem. Who is doing the hiring? Hiring is all over the place in this business. It's not one entity."
Regarding jobs in TV, Coolidge said, "The people who created the series have a very strong say in who gets hired to direct, and they don't want to hire people they're not comfortable with. And that's where you get the excuse, 'Our show runner doesn't feel comfortable working with women.' I've heard it. I've heard it more than once. And that's from shows that never hire women."
But Coolidge says people shouldn't be shocked that sexual discrimination is taking place in Hollywood because it's a "systemic problem, and it is not just the motion picture and television industry. It is a huge problem in the country and in the world."
But Hollywood does have a unique, notorious allure of power, fame and fantasy. It's also a magnet for beautiful people.
"There is a sexual element, which is deeper than just stereotypes," Coolidge said. "There is a sex fantasy that holds over Hollywood. There are even some men in this game for the sexual perks — and this is serious, I'm dead serious — and if they're screwing around all the time, and they want to be on a set where they are the king and they can f*** anything out there, they're not gonna want women around who are like their mother or their sister or their principal. So they are not going to hire women in any important positions. They are going to hire cute women that are their prey and conquests. Even if it's just for eye candy, they don't want someone watching who might say something to their wife or their boss. And that is the truth."
So, there you have it from an insider. It seems the concept of male privilege is alive and well in Hollywood. We almost expect Mad Men's Don Draper to show up on a movie set with cigarettes and a bottle of vodka.
Despite the old-school boys club still running the film industry, Coolidge urges women to keep fighting in the "war" on gender equality and says that, currently, "There are more and more women who can do anything."
We couldn't agree more.
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