By Rachel King, founder and EP, Parkview Creative
March often feels like a month of transition. Winter slowly disappears behind us and feelings of hope and optimism are rekindled. There’s a renewed energy for change. March is also the month we universally celebrate women. Our feeds overflow with stories which champion and celebrate our successes and spotlight the gentle progress which has been made.
In stark contrast we’re bombarded with statistics which highlight the ongoing injustice and imbalance for females across the world. There is still a need for significant change if we’re ever to truly achieve parity of status and opportunity.
I’m a huge fan of IWD, closing all of my emails with a celebratory signature and sending messages to the women in my life who have helped to shape and inspire me. This annual day of acknowledgement is commendable but the issues which still exist need to be recognised and challenged every day.
Parkview Creative is a multidisciplinary, largely female studio. A team of artists at heart (producers, directors, editors, designers) we’ve all carved out careers as curious makers. We make beautiful work for a plethora of brands across a range of platforms.
The joy of running a creative studio and having a wonderful roster of commercial clients is that now and again we can fund our own projects. We deliberately make time and space to tell stories about the things we’re passionate about, in the way we want to tell them.
For IWD 2023 we decided to launch our first original piece, The Age of Dance. Directed by Helena C-J, the film looks broadly at media representation of women in their ‘mid life’.
Using retired dancers as our vehicle we explore why there is so little opportunity or positive representation for women who are no longer in their enviable twenties and haven’t yet reached their Jane Fonda era. This film - Sara: 54 is the first of four short pieces which look at age, identity, physicality and loss.
The theme of IWD this year was #EmbraceEquity. Equity is defined as applying a policy of inclusivity and equality. Although there have been seismic shifts of inclusivity in terms of gender, race and body image, age is still an area of diversity which lags behind.
There are brands that embrace age diversity in their values and strategy (Dove, M&S, Jones Road, Vivienne Westwood and many others) however these are overshadowed by relentless media campaigns for women to look and feel younger, to hold on at all costs to the virtues and vanities of youth. Unrealistic images are visible on every platform.
This ethos degrades and devalues mature women and all that they have to offer, implicitly suggesting that if they are unable or unwilling to buy into this concept, they should stick to an appearance and activities ‘appropriate’ to their advancing years.
Supporting women of all ages and origins is at the forefront of Parkview’s daily work. We encourage clients to present women in empowering roles in their creative and to recruit women behind the camera to create an equal balance on set. This often means fighting for additional budget to enable hiring female industry professionals.
This directly benefits the outcome of the work and we are happy to explain the rationale to our clients. Our mission is certainly not to work exclusively with women but simply to have an equal representation of gender on set.
In addition to raising awareness, projects like The Age of Dance are an opportunity for us to freely flex our creativity, outside of a client brief or external brand guidelines. They’re a moment to come together as a team and consider what is important to us.
On a practical note they’re a time for us to test and try, to explore things we haven’t yet been paid to do and to show off other areas of our skillset. Within our portfolio they further solidify the type of work we like to make and the type of causes we like to champion.
As a founder it’s a pleasure to invest company funds back into our own work and into the people who devote their time and energy to tricky commercial briefs and challenging corporate work throughout the year.
This is undoubtedly one of our favourite pieces of work - not because it is a particularly complex or challenging execution but because it was made with belief and gives voice to the women we are about to become.
I invite everyone to watch this film and acknowledge the power, strength and beauty of its star, Sara: 54.