"YOU CAN'T BE WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE – BUT YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU CAN SEE.”
Just like at a movie set, when the first take doesn´t turn out quite right, there´s a retake - a TakeTwo.A ‘doing things over’ until you get it right.
This is what the new organization and community that I and Christina Knight, Creative Director and Author of the book "Mad Women: A Herstory of Advertising" sets out to do.
TakeTwo is an organization, a community, a platform for sharing best practices, a platform for education and soon also, a possibility to get certified - in order to more easily be able to find partners who actively work for gender equality and diversity in their businesses, productions and teams.
Or, as Frances McDormand said in her Oscar speech this Sunday – we need an "inclusion rider" - a clause demanding gender equality and diversity in all productions. (Watch the 44 sec video below!)
TakeTwo sets out to create a more gender equal and inclusive media industry - whether film, TV, PR, advertising, or news media.
Cause the way that women are still portrayed in media (or not portrayed at all) is so important that I personally believe it has the power to affect even political elections.
And the way that people of color are portrayed, too often in limiting ethnic and racial stereotypes, (or not portrayed at all) literally has the power to affect millions of people into thinking that there are limitations as to what they can become.
Representation matters. Like the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Albert Schweitzer said "Example is not the main thing in influencing others - it´s the only thing."
Starting TakeTwo has been a "vision" of mine for quite a few years now, long, long before metoo happened.
Maybe the idea started forming 25 years ago even – spending many years on commercial sets in LA to pay for my University tuition. But even more so when working for social change, humanitarian development projects, and then politics.
Cause this is the thing: as long as our media looks the way it does - even MORE gender unequal and unrepresentative than reality - with unhealthy and outdated gender norms for both women and men - - all other work on gender equality and diversity will continue to suffer and change will be stalled.
We must not accept news media that continues to ask women politician if they do their own nails while asking men about their actual work. We must do better than to accept the industry´s limited make-up, both internally and in the content produced. We all deserve to hear stories with a broader range of perspectives and more depth, including people of different ethnicities, races, religious backgrounds, and ages.
Two years ago, I met with the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media in Los Angeles that does research on representation in movies. We talked about the need of creating good educational training materials for studios, directors, producers, investors, casting directors, agents, production companies - everyone involved in the industry who make decisions on who is seen, and who is not. (And who does the talking, and who does not.)
Because gender & diversity are not matters of opinion – they are matters of knowledge. The massive benefits of creating change are teachable.
I also met with the brilliant organization The Representation Project, that through campaigns like #NotBuyingIt, #MediaWeLike, #AskHerMore, and #AskMoreOfHim" works to change the media landscape, including creating campaigns to get more women elected on the political arena, like the campaign #RepresentHer.
After these meetings, I thought to myself - we need to learn from each other across the globe.
We need to create a global platform where best practices can be spread, to speed up the process.
We also need a gender & diversity certification system for the media industry, so that people can more easily find collaborative partners who are committed to change. Who are ready to stop talking, and start walking the talk. To act and create change for real.
The road ahead may seem long - but perhaps it doesn´t need to be. With enough people on board - things can change fast. The current "status quo" can seem like "what-were-we-thinking"in just a few years.
That´s the coolest thing about change, whenever we decide, collectively, that we are fed up with TakeOne, as we´ve realized now that it wasn´t really all that good for any of us - not even for men and boys. Then we can create TakeTwo just like that. It´s just a decision away.
If that´s not motivation enough – another good reason is for profitability. With the growing she-economy, soon audiences and markets will no longer accept the outdated TakeOne. Time´s Up on the old ways.
We´ve now seen the light, regardless of what side of the screens we´re on - within the industry as producers, or as audiences or “consumers.” We now know that there´s a better option out there - and that´s not just for women, or for people of color - but for all of us.
As media affects us all so directly and strongly – both as individuals and as a society – improving media will soon show its many benefits. The fact that we will all also get new perspectives receive new epiphanies and revelations, and probably even find new solutions are just extras we get for free. What is not to like?
TakeTwo: For a Gender Equal & Diverse Media Industry has begun its work. Let us together create a more representative and inclusive media, whether in film, tv, advertising, SoMe, and news media.
Do you want to join us? I hope you do. We´d sure love to have you.
Ps. Do you want to sign up for our quarterly newsletter, or become a member to be invited to special events, let us know! www.taketwo.world/join-us/
The concept of “Inclusion Riders” explained:
So what does an “inclusion rider” mean? It´s a concept invented by University of Southern California communications professor Stacy Smith and civil-rights attorney Kalpana Kotagal of Washington D.C. that means that an inclusion rider is a provision added to actors´contracts to ensure that casting on productions is more representative. It stipulates that in small and supporting roles, characters should reflect the world we live in. In the US, that includes 50 percent gender parity, 40 percent inclusion for people of color, 5 percent LGBTQ and 20 percent disabled. Smith explains: “Agencies can ask every actor, ´would you like an inclusion rider?´ If you get the Hollywood elite to adopt it in their contracts, it becomes baked in.”