Moosewood and Marlboros
When I was young, green, living in Wellington and hanging out with people doing Women’s Studies papers, I remarked to an older relative that women were more collaborative than men.
I can’t really think of any form of female collaboration I would have experienced by then. Maybe joining with flatmates to pool loose change for a pack of Marlboro Lights? But still I held tight to the notion that, while men flexed muscle, competed for top dog and sometimes shot each other, women came together with goat’s milk, balls of yarn and The Moosewood Cookbook and created paradise.
My elder relative, who was actually only about 39, listened to my theory, took a long swig of her chardonnay and replied: “That’s right. Women have each other’s backs. Until a man enters the picture.”
I was embarrassed for her. What a hackneyed, uncool view of the sisterhood!
But since then I have witnessed some deeply uncollaborative behaviour by women. And not just over men. Over work. Over friendships. Over children (parenting now being an officially competitive sport).
Women can be wonderful and they can be vile. And I say that with Kate Sheppard as my witness. I wholeheartedly support gender equality in all matters – including the right to be a jerk. Deifying women implies that we have to be twice as great as men to exist on the planet. It’s also just really inaccurate.
Our cover story today is one of an awesome collaboration. Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the big movie of right now, The Breaker Uppperers. Each of those three jobs, in different ways, could be hard to share. But these two did it and not only are they still talking, they’re still laughing at each other’s jokes.
Did they manage it because they’re female? Or was it just professionalism, luck and a strong friendship... See page 8.