Feminist film director, producer screens film at WKU

Erian Bradley

A small group gathered into the auditorium of Mass Media and Technology Hall, Tuesday night to expand their horizons on various aspects of the women’s movement in an event hosted by the Gender & Women’s Studies department.

Jennifer Lee, film director and producer, was introduced shortly after 7 p.m. by Dawn Hall, professor of English, to educate WKU and the Bowling Green community about the accomplishments of women and feminists in the nation by showing her documentary film, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation.”

“I’ve always been a feminist since I was about 10 or 11 really young, and over the years I’ve seen the word feminist maligned and disparaged and it finally kind of got to me,” Jennifer Lee said. 

Lee expressed how important it was particularly for girls to know about women leaders and how they built our nation so girls can see themselves as leaders.

“Women helped build our nation,” Jennifer Lee said.

Lee talked about the cultural memoirs not being remembered because society remembers what they feel is important. Lee said the word feminist is looked at negatively, and her film sought to change the negative views.

 She emphasized how they’re many other women leaders that people ignore or forget because of cultural memoirs being lost because of the negative connotation of the word feminist.

Lee has a long history of working in a couple Hollywood studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros. Studios, and Technicolor working as a visual effects producer, compositor and editor, among other jobs.

She created “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation” because she felt that these stories needed to be told. It took her 10 years to complete the film, while traveling around the world to talk to multiple activists and feminists like, Frances M. Beal, Robin Morgan, Betty Freidan and many more.

The film started in the 1930s when occupational segregation was a problem. Then ventured on into World War II when women took over the work force for men and got a taste of what it was like.

Lee discussed how that specific event directed women to realize that they were capable of doing “men’s jobs.” The film went deeper to discuss how during the war women had 24-hour day care services and after the war, they were all closed. Women were expected to go back to their homes to continue to be housewives, and to the women who worked, that was a huge dilemma.

The film later showed that women began to raise their own consciousness, and fighting for their equal rights and this was after they had already gained the right to vote.  

The film displayed suffragists, peacemakers and the differences between the two. Lee explained that the younger women were seen as the radicals, and were the women who took that extra step to express what they wanted.

The film mentioned the feminist group Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, or WITCH, Lee explained that women around the world were making up their own acronyms, and how this was not to strike but to add humor to the women’s movement because men said that feminists had no sense of humor.

Consciousness raising groups were mentioned frequently in the film explaining why women felt alone. It showed how closed women were supposed to be in their relationships, and how scared they were to talk about sex, and other topics that were hushed. These groups integrated around the nation and gave women places to vent about the hardships the developed over time.

The documentary concluded during the 1970s because of financial roadblocks. Lee spent about $90,000 of her own money.

The video ended with showing many other activists that Lee interviewed that weren’t included in the film entirely to show how there are still more women leaders out there that haven’t been filmed or wrote about.

Lee sees the film as a motivation to inspire others to go out and make other films on other women movements.

There were many reasons for why the group of 30 came to view the film. For Albany sophomore Benjamin Gunter, he wanted to expand his knowledge on feminism. 

“I watched the film to learn more about the second wave of feminism and how it affects the world now,” he said 

Alumna, Shelly Glorioso from Lawrence, Kansas, attended the screening of the film to learn more about cultural narratives. 

Lee said she hasn’t had many negative comments on the film other than people seeing what the movement actually was. 

“It was the way that I could tell the story honestly because the women’s movement is so layered and complex and deep that you can’t some it up in one film,” she said.