If “history is written by the victors,” as that noted Winston Churchill quote goes, than culture’s role in preserving history is making sure that the extraordinary true stories of our time highlight a bland series of interchangeable white men whose lives all follow the prestige biopic outlines, crucial details be dammed. It has gotten so bad that the same two boilerplate British genius biopics with awkwardly handsome British actors playing fascinating men were virtually interchangeable in this year’s recently concluded Oscar race. Can you name what film Eddie Redmayne got the Oscar for? Or was it Benedict Cumberbatch? Who knows, right?
#Filmherstory, a new Twitter hashtag started by female critics and filmmakers Lexi Alexander, Miriam Bale, Shaula Evans, and Cat Cooper, is providing a nice counterbalance to the ever-boring narrative of the biopic about a white guy who did something by highlighting a range of women across eras, countries, and ethnicities who led incredible lives; the sort that could make for an incredible film or documentary (and in some cases, even a book). It’s heartening to see just how many of these women deserve to be memorialized and remembered, and it’s also equally dispiriting to realize the sheer amount of amazing women whose lives linger on the edges, reduced to just a Wikipedia entry in some cases. Keep an eye on the hashtag: #FilmHerStory will be going on throughout March, in tribute to women’s history month, and we highlighted a few of our favorite fascinating women below. Trust us, it was an impossible list to cull down.
Wait, this tweet is legitimately kind of mind-boggling to think about:
It’s also inaccurate, as there was a television miniseries from 1978 called A Woman Named Moses starring Cicely Tyson that is on DVD. It’s surprising to know, however, that there hasn’t been an Oscar-bait motion picture about Tubman’s life: she was born into slavery, escaped, spent 11 years rescuing about 70 slaves in 13 journeys, played a crucial role in the underground railroad, worked as a spy for the Union during the Civil War, was a hero… and yet her biggest mention in a film in recent years was through Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Wow.