My daughter is in pre-production on a film she wrote entitled Only Business. In this
film she explores the power dynamics in female friendships, sexuality, empowerment and shame. I am writing about this film on my biz page, not because I am a crazy-proud mamma (which of course I am) but because Only Business addresses some important and controversial feminist issues.
In this film two BFF’S want to start a business but lack the funding needed, so they consider creating an OnlyFans type page. For those of you who do not know what an OnlyFans page is, let me illuminate…It is a subscription web page where people post ‘pornish’ videos, which their subscribers can view at their leisure. So, one of the feminist questions explored in this film is…can a woman use her body to make money by posting sexy videos (as long, of course, as it is legal)? Is this empowerment or exploitation? And when does it cross the line? Is the same true for men? For instance, if a man uses his height or body size to play professional sports, isn’t he using his body to make money?
These questions bring to mind an early feminist, Helen Gurley Brown (“HGB”). For those of you who do not know who HGB is, in the 60’s she wrote a groundbreaking book Sex and the Single Girl. In this book she advocated for women to participate in the same freedoms and sexuality as men, and she gave tips on how they could do this. In HGB’s era this was groundbreaking because women were expected to marry young (in their early 20’s), have kids and take care of their hubbies. If a woman didn’t marry, the good woman would remain a virgin and work in a “female-type job,” such as teacher or secretary (the term administrative assistant was not yet coined and women were still referred to as girls). To this HGB said NO!
She entered the man’s world, worked harder than others, used her sexuality and flirtatiousness to succeed. She also had lots of sex, saved a lot of money, bought herself a Mercedes, and became the first female copywriter at the agency she worked at before getting married at the then old age of 37. She then became the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo magazine and stayed in this position until her retirement.
Although Helen Gurly Brown was an early feminist, as the second wave of feminism took hold in the 70’s, HGB was not viewed favorably because she continued to promote beauty tips and other views that were looked down upon as objectifying and sexist. Or as Karen Karbo puts it in her book, In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules, HGB insisted that, “…women enjoy makeup, fashion, and looking sexy – and that women could be traditionally feminine and powerful, making her a Sex in the City” style feminist. HGB was pro women’s financial freedom, pro-choice, pro birth control and pro women’s sexuality. In fact, as a senior citizen she continued to wear makeup and dress sexy and flirt!
So, what do you think? Can a woman enjoy and use her looks, sexuality and flirtation to create the life she wants? Or is this a way to exploit ourselves and our fellow women? Should we hide our bodies? Or can we celebrate them? Can a healthy woman use or enhance her looks to ‘play the game’ of getting ahead in life? Is this healthy? Manipulative? Shameful? Or just smart? And is the same true for men? The film Only Business explores this topic and more. Share your thoughts with us and follow Only Business on Instagram @theofficialonlybusinessfilm.
Additionally, if you’d like to learn more about Only Business here’s a link to the campaign page where you can watch the pitch video, read about the characters, learn about the messages the film will be touching on, and even make a pledge: