No Give Away Girl in Zero Dark Thirty

Just saw Zero Dark Thirty movie this weekend. It is a movie about the decade long hunt and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Exciting movie!

I loved, loved, loved the main character Naya. She was a CIA agent who was solely responsible for finding Osama’s whereabouts. Although the movie is supposed to be fictional, some of it was the same depiction I read about in the Navy Seals memoir, “No Easy Day”by Mark Owen.

“I’m the motherf###er
who found this place!”

Maya was a smart woman who did not let her co-workers eschew her successes. In a tense conference room scene, the alleged head of the CIA comes in to talk about the secret hideout that Maya has found. She is relegated quickly to a back seat, not even allowed to sit at the conference table. At one point, the CIA Director looks around and asks who the girl is. And she doesn’t answer reticently.

No, “Excuse me, I am Maya…” Blah, blah, blah. She speaks up and doesn’t let her boss get the snaps for all her hard work. She toots her own horn and does it loudly. This is not something women are socialized to do. And not demanding credit where credit is due has deleterious effect on one’s career and provides a good whack to the self esteem.

Reasons women are less likely to get credit for accomplishments:

1. They wait to be given credit. They don’t take credit.

2. They don’t want to be rude, make people uncomfortable or step on anybody’s toes.

3. They don’t want to appear too aggressive or bitchey, and are willing to sacrifice and take less important roles for the good of others. (Martyr alert!)

Kathleen Bigelow directed this movie. Before she won her first Academy Award, I read this quote from her and I can’t find it anywhere on the internet. But, it went something like this, “when I tried to make a movie, as a woman, they tried to take parts of it away. Like a dog, I held onto my bone. I would not let them take it away. You gotta hold onto your bone.” If you can find the exact quote, let me know. You get the point.

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