I discovered in a recent book of rather serious intent, and in which I was otherwise fairly treated, that the author chose to print some of the silliest fabricated tales about me even after acknowledging that they were “perhaps more apocryphal than true.” I was surprised that this author would not even bother to check his facts. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like my work or tells a story that is unflattering…as long as it’s the truth.
He relates these unbelievable tales, which he states have “caricatured” me. Caricature, according to the dictionary, is “exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion.“ Well, he has that right. Caricature has been used for a very long time to trivialize women. It is especially an anachronism in this time when women have assumed such important leadership roles throughout the world…like Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton as Secretaries of State and Kathryn Bigelow for being the first woman to win a Directors Guild Award for best feature film. Which brings me to the first falsity in this book. If the author had done his research he would have seen that in all my interviews I never blamed sexism or male chauvinism for not receiving an Oscar nomination for “Yentl” or “Prince of Tides”–others did, however.
Some more ridiculous stories from the book:
“She supposedly demanded workers at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel enter and leave her room backwards, so no one would be looking at her.” That doesn’t even make sense. If these people were told to walk backward out of a room, wouldn’t they be facing me?
That was followed with “she requires peach-colored towels and toilet paper in her hotel rooms , because the color compliments her peachy complexion.” I can’t even comment on that because it’s so silly. Using words like “reportedly,” something unknown to good, hard journalism, the book continues with such tales as I demanded that “Marine aviators stationed at a nearby airbase cease making early morning over-flights of her rented house while she was in town (Beaufort, S.C.) making ‘Prince Of Tides.'” The inference is that I wanted to sleep late. The truth is that the movie’s production people probably did check if they could reduce noise over the area of filming, not over my house. The point is, would they have ascribed that kind of request to a male director? I don’t think so. And let me point out, directors don’t sleep late.
Is it because if they can make women appear superficial, it counteracts their achievements? I guess I have to accept that some rumors are too good to check, because they might have to be removed. Another interesting thing here is the recurring use of the word demand. As I said in a speech I gave for Women in Film in 1992 ( http://www.barbrastreisand.com/us/statement/women-film-speech ) men have always been measured by a different yardstick than women, especially in positions of power.
A man is COMmanding while a woman is DEmanding.
A man is forceful while a woman is pushy.
He’s assertive – she’s aggressive
He strategizes – she manipulates
He shows leadership – she’s controlling
Women are evaluated so differently than men–often by fabricated stories that are completely untrue and intentionally demeaning. Regardless of how silly or ridiculous the lies may be, for me it’s important that that they are not perpetuated and that the truth is always told.