Before seeing the incredible documentary Equal Means Equal, I had no idea that in 2016, women do NOT have equal rights under the constitution. The documentary also touches on all of the situations in our society that are affected by this including; violence against women, the fight for equal pay, reproductive rights, sexual assault, and healthcare for women. I was compelled to dig deeper…
Here is my interview with Kamala Lopez (Equal Means Equal Director/Ex Producer) and Suzanne Whang (Actor/Comedian/Activist):
Hi ladies, I wanted to do this interview in a round table sort of discussion because I saw your film (Kamala) when Suzanne had a screening at her house.
K: Which is so great! And exactly the idea! My dream is that we have all these groups of women who are hosting parties and working together to continue to build this movement.
Me: And it really is like this circle of inspiration…Especially when women hold each other up, so thank you both of you for talking to me today.
K: Of course, I love this!
S: Yes! Thank you for doing it!
Me: What is your hope for the impact of your film? Do you suggest that people do their own home screenings?
K: Yes, that’s exactly it. The thing is, we are in a society right now where it’s so top-heavy in terms of power. If you want to get any information out, it can only come from the people. We are going to have to take this on ourselves, and the way to do that is to build community, groups of people who are educating one another, and that permits the politicians to do what they need to do because they have the public pressure.
Me: EXACTLY. (Ahem)
S: Oooh, I just got goose bumps! Because years ago, I spent some time with the RESULTS organization (www.RESULTS.org) and went with Marianne Williamson to DC to be trained in citizen activism. I didn’t realize that any constituent could ask for and get a meeting with their Senator or Congressperson.
Me: Wow! I didn’t know that.
S: Congress people have so much on their plate, and issues can slip through the cracks, unless there is a concerned citizen who brings a bill to their attention and says, “You initiated this bill. Why haven’t you signed it? “. And they might say, “I thought I did,” and by the end of the day, it can be signed. These politicians are telling us, “MAKE ME DO IT. If there are enough of you that talk about this, then I have to do it. “
K: Laws were passed since Patricia Arquette (Co-Executive Producer of Equal Means Equal) made her speech at the Oscars, because politicians realized they could capitalize on that publicity.
S: Also, one hand written letter counts as the equivalent of ten thousand constituents’ opinion. Clicking on a petition is not as good as writing a letter. These are all good things to know.
Me: I absolutely think we should be taking action, but for a moment, I want to draw our attention to the emotional component of the film. There is value in the shared experience in watching this film because, well, before we watched it, Suzanne made a little speech about how if anyone gets triggered by what they see, go ahead and leave out the backdoor and it’s totally ok and blah blah blah…I remember thinking WTF? Triggered?
S: Ha, yes I did say that, because the film triggered a lot of pain inside of me, and I saw 5 women walk out of a screening at the Laemmle Music Hall theatre in Los Angeles.
Me: As we watched the film, there was this undercurrent of pain radiating throughout the room and all of these feelings came up in me. Old feelings. The part that focused on domestic violence in America and throughout the world was particularly difficult for me to watch. The first memory I have as a child is my father being physically abusive to my mother. From day one, I had an idea of what I would be dealing with as a woman. The next feeling that came was shame, and I realized in that moment that this is absolutely a gender-specific issue. We as women have a collective experience, and remembering our pain is also really important in helping us pull through it together.
K: I agree, Kimberly. I think the model of those consciousness raising groups from the 60’s is what we need to sort of redo in a modern way. We are going to form a circle so we can have the courage and the strength to look at these things together. We are not alone. We are going to see ourselves as a unit, and that is most powerful thing we can do.
S: I don’t know if you know this Kamala, but your film inspired me to run for office!
K: That is AMAZING Suzanne.
Me: I have one last question for you, Kamala. Did the process of making this kind of film have a psychological impact on you?
K: It’s a completely different experience than a narrative film. This is deeply personal because I realized that every woman that watches this movie would have a direct connection to at least two, or three overlapping issues. This is not a movie… it’s a MOVEMENT.
Go to: http://equalmeansequal.com to learn more about the MOVEMENT!
Have a house party and show the film… join in the conversation. Be informed and make your vote count!