The predominant controlling factor in media ingested in North American - or indeed much of western societal - culture is that of the cishet white male. Cishet is the shortened form of 'cisgender heterosexual' and refers to folks who live as the gender they were born (cisgender) and whose sexual identity is straight. Statistically speaking, cishet white men are the creative or decision-making force behind the majority of films and television we watch, books we read, podcasts we listen to, and popular music we hear. Are there other voices in these fields? Of course! But in the din of media culture, the loudest voices are the ones who hold the majority and those voices are cishet white male ones.
The Everyone Else Project is an idea that sprung from this realization. Without dismissing cishet white men and their achievements, we want to make space to hear the voices of, well, everyone else.
From February 2020 to April 2020 inclusive, myself and my partners Greg (himself a cishet white male) and Sylvia, will take in only that media created and/or controlled by folks who are not cishet white men. Through this project we aim to discover a broader selection of directors, producers, writers, novelists, journalists, musicians, and hosts within the ranks of what defines everyone else: Indigenous, LGBTQIA2S, POC, women, women of colour, disabled... every other voice possible in culture. This blog will serve as our place for reviews, for recommendations, for being transparent with what we choose and how those selections are made, and for sharing with any of you who wish also to have a ready list of other voices at your fingertips.
There is nothing wrong with cishet white men. But there is something wrong with a society that listens to them above and before anyone else and that gives them an overwhelming majority of a platform on any medium. We need to hear from everyone.
When starting this project we discussed at length what it would mean, what we hope to achieve, and how to go about it. Here are some guidelines we came up with.
Much like the above quote, we have no illusions about people. There are good and bad, there are well-written books and poorly-written books, there are great films and mediocre films. We are not engaged in this project to suggest that all other voices are morally or artistically superior to cishet white men, merely that all voices deserve to be heard in the arts and in media. I don't know what all those voices are going to say but I want to hear them just the same.
This will be an ongoing and constantly updated list as we discover, watch, read, and take in more and more media by everyone else.
The films, books, podcasts, and more that we review will be published as posts with links to each one within the main list.