Commentary about Discrimination against Women in the Makeup Profession
This particular commentary has to do with makeup,
the film business and my personal ethics and willingness to do what I feel is right, even if it imposed some hardship on me. But it
came to be posted on the internet because in one forum, another person had expressed the curious opinion that my activity (looking
at the PG Film and studying the issue of whether the figure seen in that film was a real creature or a human in a fur suit) might
damage my credibility or ability to work professionally if I keep going along my path.
So in response to this person's concern
for my impending ruined career (if I didn't follow the path he suggested I take) was to explain that I have always chosen my path
in life and I was willing to endure any consequences that might arise from my making that choice.
But here, I chose to reprint
my posted reply in that forum, because the point of this website gallery was to let people get more acquainted with me, my career,
my artwork, and my philosophies. This particular incident of my past does reflect the person that I am, how I choose my path in life,
and where my priorities are, so in that sense, I felt it would be a worthy commentary to include.
So here is a reprint of my post,
in reply to this concerned individual
You seem very concerned for my future, and the prospect
of my being somehow hurt if I finally offer a conclusion that somebody doesn't like. I thank you for your concern for my future.
said, I want to ask you a hypothetical question, which you may think about, respond to, or ignore as you choose. That question is:
If you are in a circumstance where some social injustice (job discrimination, for example) is widely practiced by the prevailing community,
and you believe that injustice should be opposed by a proactive action of justice, would you just accept the injustice and stay in
the good graces of the prevailing community, or would you choose to stand for justice even if ostricized by the community, in effect,
punished for "doing the right thing"?
The reason I ask is that in the late 60's when I started as a makeup artist, women were
not allowed into the profesion by the Hollywood establishment. I believe one woman got in through a technicallity, but essentially,
women were refused any chance to be in the apprentice program, and union makeup artists were prohibited from teaching anyone but a
union apprentice, resulting in women not being taught so they could enter the profession. It was blatant job discrimination by gender,
sad but true.
In the 70's, I was director of a school training makeup artists, and I trained women as well as men. In 1979, I chose
to leave the school and resume my own movie work. On my jobs needing crews in the lab or on set, I hired many of my former students,
men and women alike, because I felt they were equally qualified.
By the mid 80's, I had done quite a few movies, every time giving
women as much opportunity to work and gain experience in the profession as men, because I believed it was the right thing to do.
I was told by a friend who was willing to say what others were saying behind my back, producers, directors, and executives.
They were saying, "Bill is good, but he doesn't use first rate crews, so he's not giving us his best effort. Maybe we should hire
somebody who is giving their best effort."
And do you know their definition of "not giving the films my best effort?" I was not hiring
an all male crew, and of course, everybody knew an all male crew was first rate while a crew of equal men and women was a second rate
I lost jobs because I believed discrimination against women was wrong, and Hollywood was an "old boys network" still determined
to blatantly discriminate against women in many of the film professions, and I wasn't playing ball with them by their rules. Did I
suffer, from those lost jobs. Certainly. Do I regret what I did? No. And today, the president of the makeup union is a woman, a former
student I helped to learn and enter the profession. Job discrimination based on gender or race is no longer practiced in the makeup
profession, and I helped make that happen.
If you believe something is right, you do it even when it may cause some hardship in your
profession, your earning or your acceptance from your peers. If you have to choose between being part of the problem or part of the
solution, I truly hope you will choose to be part of the solution, despite any potential for hardship along the way. I did. I would
do so again, if faced with that choice. So you may rest assured and stop worrying about any hardship in my future because of my "current
path". But I appreciate your concern.
(End of original posted statement)