Ok, so maybe it was just one guy, but still. And it was awesome.
Last night, we had our first ever public screening of the Brains pilot, with The Set NYC, an event-planning service that partners with artists to raise money for charity during different fashion and film events. Our screening was at the Lovecraft, a bar in New York City, along with a few other local filmmakers, and it was, quite honestly, one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
And of course, the screening started off with a nice, big screen look at my boobs.
I go back and forth about how I feel about the first two Brains episode thumbnails. For those of you who have avoided my near-constant barrage of shameless self promotion (lucky you) and don’t know what they are, here you go:
Classy, right? Right.
We make jokes about how front-and-center we put my cleavage on the show, both within the show and when we talk about it. Occasionally, when Brains comes up (and if you talk to me for more than 30 seconds, it will come up) with someone who hasn’t seen it, I give them the website and then say “if you see a video thumbnail with my boobs, you’re in the right place,” which is a kind of awkward thing to say to people. Especially coworkers and fellow filmmakers.
So why do I feel weird about it? There are a few reasons:
- My family watches Brains, and that’s sorta weird.
- Feminism. And whatnot.
- If I want to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, having my boobs be the first thing people see might not be the best first impression.
- It’s cheap.
- It might put my main demographic off (20-something women) despite it getting me views from pervs
- It forces me to either talk about my boobs a LOT with strangers, or avoid the conversation altogether in a way that makes it seem like I’m ashamed, or I was tricked into it, or something.
I shouldn’t feel weird about it, though. When determining if something is objectification or empowerment, you have to answer one question: “Who has the power?” In this scenario, me. I have the power. It was my idea to start the show on a shot of my boobs, it was my show to begin with, and it is me who is consistently promoting said show that has said shot of my boobs right up front. Also, I think boobs are hilarious.
Plus, I’m a grown woman with fairly healthy self esteem with sex positive leanings that are at odds with the concept of pretending my massive chest is not there. And if it’s there, I’m gonna talk about it/use it/make jokes. Rachel Bloom got a Golden Globe, and the latest episode of her (incredible, hilarious) show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” features the following music video:
Golden. Globe. Winner. If she can do it, why can’t I? (This applies both to the “talking about boobs without being labeled a hack” AND “winning a Golden Globe”)
Honestly, the moment of uncertainty I have about showing someone my show or talking about the very unsubtle fact that my boobs are all over it is not a new phenomenon for me. It’s the same moment of uncertainty I have every time I’m around other writers and creators and I have to inevitably admit that my work is about zombies and superheroes and lesbian vampires with garlic-loving roommates. Because at first, that seems as embarrassing as having my boobs be the main branding for my web series. At first, it doesn’t seem high-brow or important or appropriate. And then I remember something.
I have never been happier than when I sit down to write a story about a sassy college-aged scientist looking for love post zombie apocalypse. It’s not War and Peace, it’s not Ender’s Game. It’s Brains. And it’s fun and personal and, best of all, it’s all me. I will not be made ashamed of the fact that my unique perspective on the world happens to birth boob jokes and literal monsters and the episode title “Dun Dun DUUUN” which is literally something you can find on IMDb now.
Anyone I meet who is put off by my sense of humor and the fact that a prominent part of my anatomy is in glorious view during several episodes of my debut web series probably wasn’t someone I wanted to talk to for very long anyways. As for my family, well, hey, at least I’m not doing porn?
The guy who whooped at my boobs during the screening was the subject of the documentary that was screened after our pilot, and he was very embarrassed and I thought it was one of the funniest things that ever happened to me. I assured him multiple times that I wasn’t offended, because, well, I didn’t put my boobs in my comedy show because I thought people would ignore them.