Using Our Voices and Art by Selena Mars
Using Our Voices and Art
By Selena Mars
I started out in the industry in my teens, so it might be surprising to learn I can count on one hand the number of female directors and photographers I have worked with over these many years. The number of African American women in those roles stands at two. This is something that in my small way, I am working to help change.
As women in the industry, we face obstacles men mostly do not have to contend with: Being paid less than our male counterparts for doing the same job, being overlooked for positions of power we are qualified for. We have to prove ourselves time and time again in this industry that birthed the "casting couch." I remember cautionary tales from my Grandmother Mary – a model and artist in the 1940's, and many involved that metaphorical couch. Although her stories reflected Hollywood in the early 1900's, the tales are still relevant and prevalent today.
We have come a long way. There was not an Ava DuVernay, Michelle Obama or Issa Rae when I was growing up an awkward black girl. I feel we still need to be so much more-particularly in film. We need to see less stereotypes and more women and people of color as studio heads, directors, entrepreneurs. Just as people. We all must work together to create the change we want to see.
We become artists and filmmakers because of our deep desire to communicate something. Sometimes art is our best way of communicating. As artists, I believe we are in a unique position to pose difficult questions, open a window and at the same time hold a mirror up to society. We should not be afraid to use our voices and to have these discussions, it's part of our job.
Selena Mars is a model, actress, singer, filmmaker, creative producer and aspiring screenwriter. She is as well a Stowe Story Labs Fellow.