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I have a problem with ‘Moneyball’

I have a problem with Moneyball and I can’t stop thinking about it.

There are no women in it.

I googled “Moneyball women” and what I get is even more disturbing. The movie producer and the studio head are both women. It’s not a secret that there are more men in Hollywood. We all remember that it took until 2008 for a woman to win “Best Director” at the Oscars. It’s frustrating enough that women have such a hard time breaking the movie-making glass ceiling. Then I hear statements like this regarding the challenges of getting the movie made, I can’t help but feel like we’re always one step forward and two steps back.

Doubling-down, another female specialty, Horovitz would argue. “It’s a fact of our species that women have to turn a no into a yes more often than men do,” she says. “Do you think my husband wanted to get married or have children?

uh what? You married someone who didn’t want to get married and had kids with someone who didn’t want to have kids? I can’t. That’s such a frustrating stereotype of a married couple. It’s such a frustrating stereotype of a woman. I absolutely refuse to accept that women should accept that we get told ‘no’ more often. Like it’s something we should just laugh off? Oh dear me, silly world, always putting women last.

Others, like Laura Baudo Sillerman at Women’s Voices for Change hit the nail on the head:

Admittedly, it’s a true story that doesn’t lend itself to a big part for a woman, but it takes place in 2002. Is it really possible that the scene of the high-heeled, mature secretary arriving with two trays of coffee — one for Billy Beane, the modern general manager, and the other for John Henry, a supposedly progressive team owner — actually happened? And was this scene necessary? Was Beane’s relationship with his own secretary (again a mature woman) truly limited to barking the names of people to whom he wanted calls placed (and, oh yes, asking if the coffee was made)? Couldn’t the beautiful and gifted Robin Wright have been given more than just one scene during which she was restricted to indicating her loyalty to her supercilious second husband?

When this very pleasant very enjoyable film was finished (seriously, I liked it a lot) I wasn’t fixating on the number of women. I don’t love doing that, but when it’s this unequal and this over the top I feel like it creeps up on me and I cannot remain passive about it. Everything was amplified when this flashed across the screen:

Written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

JCPE and I both yelled “Ahhhhh THAT’s WHY it was so good! Goddamit Aaron Sorkin another great movie! Best screenwriter of all time!”

Then I started thinking almost exactly what Laura Baudo Sillerman said above… why can’t I remember more than three women characters? Why don’t I know their names?

See? Similarly why can’t I remember any women who weren’t crazy girlfriends or sluts from Social Network while I’m at it? You can argue that there weren’t that many women who were involved in the making of Facebook, but there have to be stories out there where genders are at the very least equally represented. I started thinking when will we start telling those stories?

Now I’ve let it sit for 24 hours and I’ve gone from sort of ok with it to actually angry about it. I believe that Aaron Sorkin is the best screenwriter of all time. I believe that whatever the future holds for the planet earth that it 100% will include people performing Aaron Sorkin scenes for hundreds of years. The West Wing is our Hamlet, The Social Network is our Macbeth. I’m not mad at Aaron Sorkin for being a man, I’m grateful that he’s a writer, it’s no exaggeration when I say that his work has changed my life. I am mad at Aaron Sorkin for not putting his money where his mouth is.

What makes me upset is this:

This made me cry when I saw it. He makes a point to say to his daughter that “smart girls have more fun, and you’re one of them!” That’s awesome, great dad stuff Aaron!

Now please, please write another strong woman. There isn’t a women I know who wouldn’t say she looks up to CJ Cregg.You have the talent and the power to create something truly remarkable for the next generation of women.

Seriously:

I’m upset with you, Aaron Sorkin. I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to ask the person who is the best at their craft to please take a moment to write us a strong female-lead movie. True stories of strong women DO exist, you have the talent to bring these stories to life in a way that no one else has. Do it for me, do it for the women who became interested in politics because of CJ. Do it for the women who became television producers because of Dana Whitaker. Do it for your daughter.

6 thoughts on “I have a problem with ‘Moneyball’”

  1. Matt says:

    Haven’t seen the movie myself yet, but it is all too common for women to be overlooked as original characters in movies and treated as set dressung. I mean, they shouldn’t have shoehorned a strong female role into the movie just for the sake of having one, but similarly they shouldn’t take the lazy way out either and write all the women as worn out old Hollywood stereotypes like “overworked but loyal secretary” or “patient and supporting wife of difficult but brilliant husband”.

  2. Kim says:

    I subscribe to this time-honored test: A movie is good if it A: has at least 2 women who B: have a conversation with each other that C: doesn’t revolve around a man.

  3. Jiun Kwon says:

    “Like it’s something we should just laugh off? Oh dear me, silly world, always putting women last.”

    AGREED. I loathe this attitude to no end. It is not dissimilar to the “I’m-such-a-mentally-vacant-ditz-aren’t-I-aDORable?” persona that some women adopt, thinking they’re actually “tricking” men into giving them what they want. It’s effing insulting.

  4. Terry m. says:

    I don’t think any of the scenes with the daughter or ex-wife were in the book, so whoever on the movie end (maybe Sorkin, maybe a studio exec you mention, maybe someone else) was more the solution than the problem. And what was wrong with Billy Beane’s daughter as a strong female character?

  5. m says:

    What exactly is the problem?

  6. m says:

    “I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to ask the person who is the best at their craft to please take a moment to write us a strong female-lead movie.”

    Why? Why in the world is that such an important thing?
    Why?

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