Reuters: “Dozens in Mumbai Protest”

Reuters: “Dozens Protest in Mumbai” (Feb 3, 2009)

DOZENS protest in Mumbai???  I don’t want to sound cynical here, but really, is this a joke?  In a city of ~ 20 million people, you can probably find dozens of people doing innumerable things at any specific point in time.  But while women literally hold up half the sky, trying to get MSM recognition for the creative contributions of women artists (in this specific case, getting an Oscar nomination for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE’s credited co-director Loveleen Tandan) is like trying to scale Mount Everest.

<insert big sigh here>

As I have repeatedly stressed in print (& to everyone who’s actually written &/or contacted me directly by phone to follow-up), I am NOT protesting against Danny Boyle (whom I’ve called “a mensch”), SLUMDOG MILLIIONAIRE (which I loved), or anything remotely personal.  What I’m concerned about is a system that seizes on any available excuse sufficient to deny women opportunities &/or rewards for creative expression.     

     Martha Lauzen’s “celluloid ceiling” reports have conscientiously tracked statistics for women filmmakers for well over a decade now, & the Fund for Women Artists, the Guerilla Girls, and others can provide comparable statistics for women practicing other art forms. But what Lauzen has called “the privilege of denial” will persist until we all demand change.  As Pamela Tanner Boll’s terrific new documentary Who Does She Think She Is? makes clear, artists & audiences are in a dyadic relationship: if an artist doesn’t have an audience, her art suffers; if an audience doesn’t have artists, their world is impoverished.

     Yesterday, our new President admitted that he’d made a mistake: nominating Tom Daschle just didn’t conform to his larger beliefs as stated, and so Tom Daschle withdrew his name from contention.  There’s still time for AMPAS to admit they’ve made a mistake; there’s still time for AMPAS to add Loveleen Tandan’s name to the list of ’09 Oscar nominees before the Feb 22 awards ceremony.

WE can make this happen IF we focus!

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