The Best New Women-Created Media to Be Consuming Right Now
I'm assuming you're with me in spending copious hours consuming various forms of media lately. Whether that's watching cartoons with your kids, putting on the latest Netflix series to drown out the soul-sucking ennui native to long-term social distancing, joining virtual watch parties to connect with friends and family from afar, or listening to new playlists to keep yourself entertained as you scrub the ever-present pile of dishes in the sink, I'd bet we're all finding ourselves more mired in media than usual.
But the media landscape is one particularly vulnerable to gender-based discrimination. A McKinsey report found that while entry-level women in media are well-represented, there's a dearth of women at senior levels, meaning that the people green-lighting projects, directing movies, producing TV series, and leading media strategies are, more often than not, men. That gap is even more serious when it comes to women of color.
Per the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film at San Diego State University, for the 100 top-grossing films of 2019, women only made up:
- 26% of producers
- 20% of writers
- 23% of editors
- 12% of directors
- and 2% of cinematographers
But there's hope: when women are in those leadership roles, more women are employed throughout a show or movie's production. A 2019 study found that movies with at least one female director employed greater percentages of women in the rest of the production than films helmed by men.
So while I'm consuming more media than normal, I'm doing my best to make sure that media was made by women. I'm keeping myself entertained while also contributing to supporting women's equality, and that's what I've come to call productivity in this new normal. Here is an incomplete list of my favorite women-created media right now:
Never Have I Ever | Netflix
This Mindy Kaling-created teen dramedy centers around an Indian-American high school student, played by Tamil-Canadian rookie actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who's trying to lose her virginity while also processing her father's untimely death. Both subjects are handled with grace, humor, and genuine thoughtfulness, and the writing is far more clever than your average teen sitcom (here's looking at you, Riverdale). The casting is diverse without being typecast, and that's an extra bonus.
Insecure | HBO
The fourth season of this series created, produced, and written by (and starring) comedy phenom Issa Rae focuses on the love lives, family drama, and professional arcs of a group of black friends living in LA and just trying to get it together. Come for the incredible dialogue, and stay for the meaningful reflection on growth and change in relationships.
Run | HBO
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (and Vicky Jones) produced this sexy thriller, so if that's not reason enough to watch, did you not love Fleabag or do you hate all good things? The general premise is a surprise reunion of two ex-lovers (with truly believable tension, thanks to excellent performances by Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson) that lets viewers figure out exactly what's happening, episode by episode.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire | Hulu
This French historical drama technically came out in 2019, but it just hit American Hulu this month, so I say it counts for this round-up. The romantic (and incredibly lushly filmed) story follows the relationship between a lady of high society and the painter commissioned to make a portrait of her. It was directed and written by Céline Sciamma and features a female cinematographer and producer, to boot.
Selah and the Spades | Amazon Prime
This movie takes place at Haldwell, a made-up boarding school in Pennsylvania populated by mob-like cliques of power-seeking teens, and features a complicated drug trade, plenty of drama, and a black woman seeking to take control of her own destiny. Directed and written by Tayarisha Poe, the movie—Poe's first feature film—is incredibly watchable.
The Half of It | Netflix
Technically, I haven't seen this movie yet—it comes out on May 1, and I had to have this copy in ahead of that date—but just read this Netflix-provided synopsis and tell me you're not dying to watch: "A shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love." And the film is written, directed, and produced by Alice Wu, who wrote her first screenplay while working as a software engineer for Microsoft. We love a multi-talented directing queen!
Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
Unlike her debut album, Dua Lipa's sophomore release, which came out in April, is all hers—she has a writing credit on every song. While the record remains fully within the pop realm with lots of tracks that will be well-suited to a dance floor, if we're ever allowed on those again, there are also references to feminism, violence against women, and the importance of community.
Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple
If not album of the year, definitely album title of the year, no? Apple's latest release came as a surprise, dropping on April 17th to much fan excitement, and features experimental percussion along with exploration of themes of confinement, power, and speaking out.
Savage Remix (Feat. Beyoncé) by Megan Thee Stallion
Even overexposure to the chorus of this incredibly empowering hit via TikTok dance barrage couldn't stop me from thoroughly loving the remix, which came out on April 29th and set the music world (hell, the entire world) aflame. The song is a true remix, featuring four new verses and plenty of Beyoncé rapping, which is really what I needed to get to the end of this week.
Did I miss your favorite new women-helmed shows, movies, or musical releases? Please share in the comments! I have alllll the streaming services and nothing but time to indulge in them.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work
The world has changed in the past few weeks.
We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.
Women Founders & CEOs Share Their Tips
If you're anxious about looking for a new job right now, you're not alone. We've talked before about how you can land a job in the midst of COVID-19, but today we wanted to share advice from some of the experts who spoke at our inaugural Diversity Reboot Summit.