A Woman is…

Posted by Rena Sternfeld on October 10, 2012 in The search |


In all of the statistics published by the Director’s Guild of America there is a pairing of women and minorities. We (me and a few director friends, all members of the guild, which means we’ve directed before) are still trying to get to the bottom of individual shows hiring practices. Some say as many as 90% of the shows didn’t employ women directors at all. Their percentage comes from the ‘minorities’.

For one reason (or another) our pairing with “minorities” bothers me a lot.

Maybe it is due to my East European Jewish heritage, but who is a Jew or who is a minority is a question worthy of the Nazi Germany, not the US. Call me color blind (in the wake of Stephen Colbert who asked an African American guest: “Excuse me, are you black? I’m color blind…”)
How many generations back do we go? If the parents were born in the Philippines, does it make the person who was born in the US, a minority? If I was born in India because my parents were on a mission there, does that make me a minority?
I was lucky enough to participate in the ABC/DGA directing program. In one of the mixers I met a guy from the writing program. His name was American (similar to Robert Altman) and his color was as white as mine. In my Israeli chutzpa I asked him point blank: “What are you doing here? You are neither a minority nor a woman as far as I can see.”

“Oh,” he answered, “My mother is half Mexican.”
Do we really want to have the debate who is a minority and who is not?

To differentiate between a man and a woman is much easier and clean cut. Either you are a woman or you’re not and it has to do with the person, not his linage. In cases of gender change, you still end up in one of those two camps.

We women are not the minority anymore. As of 2011 we are 50.8% of the population.


Black, yellow, white, red or purple we are women, the only ones capable of perpetuating the species.

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