Monday, January 3, 2011

What Defines Me?

After having just gotten back into town with a few days to settle in before I go back to work, I take my friend up on his offer to visit him on his set. When I get to the location, he and his crew are pre-rigging a house while first unit's out shooting some driving stuff, which made it the perfect opportunity for him to show me around and introduce me to the rest of the crew.

The introductions, however, go something like this:

My Friend: "And this is Juicer #1 and Juicer #2. Guys, this is A.J. She's a friend of mine who worked with me on [previous show]."
Juicer #2: "Cool. Nice to meet you. Wasn't there a chick in the grip department on that show too?"
Me: "Yeah... So?"
Juicer #2: [looking kind of embarrassed] "Nothing..."

Although I'm sure Juicer#2 had good intentions when he brought up the subject of another female who works g/e, the fact that it was the first thing he brought up bothered me. Yes, I am a girl in a male dominated field. And no, I normally don't mind when people mention it during a conversation (usually it's because they wonder what it's like for female in my department). But sometimes, it sucks when that's all anyone notices about you, because then, you're not being defined as a bad ass grip or electric who just happens to also be a chick. Instead, you're first and foremost being seen as a girl... who just happens to have a day job being a juicer. Which means that it doesn't really matter how hard you work at your career, or how well you do your job. No matter what you do, you'll always be noticed for being the chick in a group of electrics.

Am I being a tad touchy on the subject? Maybe. But at the same time, if I ever get the privilege to meet Morgan Freeman, the first words out of my mouth isn't going to be, "Nice to meet you. One of my best friends is black!"


Nathan said...

I don't doubt your experience, but I'm a little dumbfounded every time I hear about another g/e crew thinking it's so weird to have a woman in their midst. I've known female grips and electricians since I got my start in the 80's.

And, BTW,if I meet Morgan Freeman, I'm going to be struggling to hold myself back from saying, "Nice to meet you. None of my best friends are dating their Step-Granddaughters." Just sayin'.

John the Scientist said...

I heard he doesn't like to be reminded about his days as Easy Reader, either.

The Grip Works said...

There are women Grips and Electrics in so many countries from South Africa to India to Germany. I was filming right now in Berlin, and the Best "Boy" Grip on my second unit was a girl .
I'm really surprised that it seems so odd to working crew in America to have women in their department.
I would not have expected that.

Hugo Fuchs said...

Yeah, but some of it is social programming, like Obama is the first Black President, or somene is the first WOman whatever ... I personally don't give a $#!+, so long as they're competent.

A.J. said...

Hugo - I don't doubt that maybe social programming plays a role, but to me, Obama is a U.S. President who happens to be black. Not the other way around.

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