Shirley Lansing

The movie business, like many, is dominated by men. Don’t tell that to Sherry Lansing. Like many women in male-dominated fields, she was dismissed when she got into the business. The former actress, entered the business side of the film industry, making her way to the top. She became one of the most important producers and studio heads of the late 20th century. Lansing was the Keynote Speaker at the Conference of Cincinnati Women in 1988. Her topic was “A Woman in a Man’s Industry”. Her productions have received critical acclaim and some have become definite classics. She helped to the screen films that  chronicled women’ s stories and women’s struggles. These films included classics such as 9 to 5, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Fatal Attraction. Under Lansing, the studio produced such blockbuster hits as Forrest GumpBraveheart, and what was, at the time, history’s highest-grossing film – Titanic (the latter two with Fox).Six of the ten highest grossing Paramount films were released during her tenure which included three Academy Awards for Best Picture.Overall, 80% of the films released by Lansing were profitable, a track record unmatched by any other long term studio management leader.

Shirley Lansing was an incredibly successful film producer and studio head, as we can see by the award nominations, box-office success, and profitability of her productions. However, like many women, she faced discrimination in her field. She, like female political candidates faced a sexist rhetoric that permeates through the work of the person. She may be unmatched when it comes to profitability, but some have said that it is just because she made “women’s movies” so of course women will make them successful. That is calling knowing your audience, not pandering to them and I didn’t know that Braveheart is considered a woman’s picture. She was presenting at an area conference, a conference which Jo McQueen gave her a Fantastic Feminist doll. Sherry and Jo shared correspondence of thanks and camaraderie, showing that the national and local can come together, and Sherry’s feminist touch was not destroyed by a male dominated field, something female candidates should take to heart.