Those were the words that Barbra Streisand uttered when she announced Kathryn Bigelow’s name as the winner of the best director Oscar. The moment came at the end of a long and boring show that featured many male winners in most categories, but DAMN, staying up was worth it.
I never really thought this was possible even six months ago since the gender problem in Hollywood is so pervasive, but DAMN, it happened – a woman won for BEST DIRECTOR. Director is the ultimate leader in Hollywood, the big kahuna, and now, finally a woman is in the club and that my friends, is a big deal.
After she won last night I was thinking about other female firsts that I have experienced in my lifetime. I remember when Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court justice; I remember when Madeleine Albright became the first Secretary of State; I remember when Shannon Faulkner became the first female to go to the Citadel; I remember when Eileen Collins became the first woman to command a space shuttle mission; I remember when Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House.
And I will remember last night.
I will remember it because it came on the dawn of International Women’s Day, when many of us pause and think about the struggles that many women and girls in the world go through each and every day just to survive.
We all know that last night was symbolic, that one woman winning an award won’t help all the other women working each and every day to get their films made. But I am betting that this morning women directors around the world will walk a little taller, smile a little brighter, and feel a bit stronger and more confident as they sweep up the glass that Bigelow shattered last night.
I hope that moms and dads around the world take the picture of Kathryn Bigelow and talk to their daughters and sons about the fact that this is a big deal for our world because it had never happened and maybe those young girls will believe that they too can win an Oscar, and maybe those boys will grow up believing that women are their equals in each and every profession.