Saturday, August 27, 2011

Job Titles: Best Boy vs. Best Girl.

The call sheet for my next job comes in and the first thing I do is scan my department to make sure the appropriate names are there. I already see an issue two lines in with my own name: Electric: Best Girl.


I can see why they changed the wording of the title, but let me give you my take on it.

Sure, the "Boy" part in "Best Boy" stems from the fact that the role was traditionally male, so it only makes sense that some would change it to "Girl" when it's a female taking the lead.

But to me, the title of "Best Boy" is no longer a gender specific term. Yes, it may have started out that way, but decades of usage has turned it more into a very specific job title than the casual description it once was.

So much so, that when you think of your possible career path in this biz, you think "Okay, I'll start as a lamp op, then move onto being a Best Boy, then Gaffer..." Even if you're a chick, the thought of referring to yourself as a "Best Girl" doesn't even occur to you.

It's also a title that's so steeped in tradition that I feel as if I've worked really hard to achieve it. Like reaching it would be somewhat of a milestone. Something that finally ties me in with the old school ways of filmmaking past. And to have that title changed when I get there seems a bit... dejecting.

Plus, seeing as how there's so few girls on the team to begin with, if there's only one in your department, isn't she the "Best Girl" by default?* So it's pretty much a meaningless title to begin with.

But most of all, being called a "Best Girl" instead of a "Best Boy" just feels... wrong.

*Admittedly, if it was an all girl crew, I don't think I'd have a problem with there being a "Best Girl."


Nathan said...

I'm with you. That's just rwong.

Michael Taylor said...

I agree. Giving production the benefit of the doubt, it seems unlikely they meant to diss you or the job you do -- and maybe it was just a too-cute stab at political correctness -- but having earned that job the hard way, you deserve to wear the proper title. More likely this was the work of a clueless newbie who meant well but simply doesn't understand.

How rare...

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