“If I have a male protagonist, it’s a studio movie, and if it’s a female protagonist, it’s an indie movie. That’s just how it is. It’s not about the studios. It’s about America and who goes to see movies. Women are interested in men and women, and men aren’t interested in the woman’s story. They just aren’t. There are exceptions, but by and large … I mean I do think that it’s feminizing for a guy to go see a movie with a female lead unless it’s Angelina Jolie shooting people or Zero Dark Thirty or something that feels like it’s in the male sphere. The devaluation of the traditional female roles or the traditional female approach, it starts to feel like this is what’s wrong with our country.”
In the liner notes for To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story, Ed Ward wrote:
Nina Simone was one of those controversial figures American pop music puts forward from time to time. To see this African-American woman get angry about the racial situation in her country, right there on stage, was a shock to people who’d come to hear her sing ‘I Loves You, Porgy.’ Not that she cared; she figured that it was the artist’s job to deliver the truth, and if the truth hurt, so be it. Of course, events wound up proving her right, but she never stopped being prickly about one thing or another. It was just part of who she was, and part of why her music has endured while that of some of her contemporaries has faded: she’s still contemporary.
“You seem completely ignorant to the fact that if many women behave in a “positive” fashion, it’s partially because the social costs of being anything else are much, much higher than they are for men. Women who are critical, opinionated etc are still “crazy” or “bitchy” or whatever. Meanwhile, women have socialized to not make too much noise, be nice, make other people feel better about themselves — to enormous professional cost, I would argue, even if they are inherent goods for society. The successful women you write about are clearly threading that needle, and it’s working for them — but the way you described them clearly implied that it made them unserious (“to many male observers”, etc).”