Rachel Myers’ satirical short brings women Confidence in a bottle

Confidence © 2018 Confidence Starts Here
Confidence © 2018 Confidence Starts Here /

In Rachel Myers’ satirical short, women use a quick spray of Confidence to gain the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

“Man up with confidence.”

That’s the motto for Rachel Myers’ satirical line of beauty products, all of which have one message: With a little confidence, women can go just as far as their male counterparts — all it takes is a spray!

The joke, of course, is that men have a tendency to skate by on confidence over skill or talent — something women of equal qualifications are frequently forced to compete with in the professional world. And Myers’ messaging has resonated with so many women that her brand has led to a collaboration of more than 50 women contributing time and energy to the brand.

Alongside of the fake products, labeled with comical names like “Swagger” and “Bright Idea,” Myers has also made a short film driving home the same feminist points. Dubbed CONFIDENCE, the short premiered at the Los Angeles Women in Film Festival this September and the Palm Springs Comedy Shorts Festival this month.

The short shows a young woman, nervous about a job interview, taking a spray of one of Myers’ products so that she can land the position she wants with ease.

Watch CONFIDENCE here:

But where did the idea for products like “Ordinary White Man” spray even come from? Speaking with Culturess, Myers cited her experience in Hollywood as a jumping off point, although she was quick to acknowledge that her own experience is similar to many others’.

“Basically, the idea came from — just to build on your question a little more — the idea came from the experience I had professionally for so long about being the one woman in the room most of the time,” she explained. “And seeing young, mostly white men come up really quickly in the field, and thinking, ‘Oh, what is that thing they have? I wish I could just bottle it up.’”

Admittedly, it would be a relief to just bottle up confidence to land the interview, nail the presentation, or do whatever it is you’re setting out to do.

When it comes to her own work history, Myers started as a Hollywood actor and then director, and it’s no secret that Hollywood still has work to do when it comes to representation.

“It really felt like there were no role models for women directors, and everybody I worked with seemed to be male,” Myers said. “I started out in Hollywood, even as an actor at first, and it was very apparent that the roles created for women were very limited. I remember going to auditions where it was always like the hot ex-girlfriend and the fat friend. The parameter of the world women could live in in cinema was a narrow lane, and I think that was reflective of the fact that the people in charge have mostly been men.”

“As young people in the world, your view of the world is shaped by what you see onscreen,” she added, emphasizing how harmful having a set number of stereotypical roles for women or people of color can be.

And this overwhelming disparity between men and women isn’t just an issue in Hollywood. Across industries, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to men and women in the professional realm.

“Well, I think it’s interesting the way that femininity … the ways a woman leader has to navigate society and being a woman working in the world,” Myers said.

This, of course, also extends to politics, and Myers touched on how skewed the United States government is when it comes to gender.

“Certain behaviors in men are rewarded — you know, being ballsy or direct. And those same attributes in women are ridiculed and called negative names,” she explained. “And I think a recent example of that is the debate, Kamala Harris’ reactions to Pence’s interruptions. I was watching her, and she’s definitely playing the role of smiling and shrugging it off.”

Myers continued by saying that, had Harris responded as Joe Biden did during his debate with President Donald Trump, “the media definitely would have said she lost her temper.”

“When you look at women in the working world and representation in our government, it’s so skewed in favor of older white men,” Myers said. “And I think the patriarchy sort of needs to be dismantled one institution at a time.”

That it does, and pointing to these problems with a mix of humor and criticism — much like what Myers has done through her brand and videos — is a great way to spark these conversations. She made it clear that the focus of this satirical take on women’s work experiences isn’t to drag men down, either. It’s simply to draw awareness to the obstacles women face that white men simply do not.

“It’s not to diminish men,” she emphasized. “It’s sort of the joke is to say, ‘I’ll have what he’s having except make it female.’”

The humor certainly helps make CONFIDENCE feel like a conversation starter rather than an attack, and that appears to be the balance Myers intended to strike.

“My style is, I like poignant with a smile,” she said. [It] is sort of my vibe as an artist. I feel like we’ve all been hit over the head in different ways. The idea just came honestly one day after a male director walked out of the room with some not-so-genius idea, and I was standing with two other women and they looked at me and rolled their eyes. And I thought, ‘Well, I wish I could just spray some of that on.’”

From there Myers pitched a friend to see what they thought.

“It’s funny that, even then, I felt like I needed permission from somebody else that it was a good idea,” she laughed.

But Myers’ idea was met with applause from plenty of women, all of whom were able to relate to the topics she was bringing to light. That’s how so many women, from concept artists to writers to actresses, were brought into the fold.

Confidence © 2018 Confidence Starts Here
Confidence © 2018 Confidence Starts Here /

“What’s so phenomenal about this project is that over 50 women were involved in some aspect of the collaboration. It was a really amazing sort of unity. And also, I think the timing of it… When we filmed CONFIDENCE, it was right at the time of the Kavanaugh hearings and #MeToo, and I feel like so many women were rattled by those conversations and talking about what is consent … I think the energy of that really came to fruition.”

In fact, the reaction was so positive that women begun asking Myers if they could actually buy a bottle of “Confidence” to put in their offices.

“I mean, there are many women who have asked me since we did it — and women who are on the project — who have said, ‘Can I have a bottle? I need a bottle of that to put on my desk in my office.’”

And, as it turns out, you can actually purchase a bottle of “Ordinary White Man” for yourself. Unfortunately, it won’t affect consumers quite as magnificently as it does in Myers’ short — but the proceeds do go to Planned Parenthood, which is great to see. Plus, even if women can’t just throw on some product and confidently go about their day, Myers did have some hope to offer: She believes younger generations of women are already confronting these problems, and that they’re rising to the occasion in new and better ways because “they’re a little bit more confident out of the gates.”

“They start making things without anyone telling them they can,” she added.

And it’s not just younger women who are starting to open their eyes to the obstacles women in the workforce face. While men definitely do have a harder time understanding what women experience day to day, there are many attempting to educate themselves and offer a seat at the table.

“There are many great men in my world and my life, but the way that white male masculinity is represented and indulged gets to be very toxic and exhausting, particularly in this moment with our political moment. I think the men who are doing the right thing are asking questions and having conversations and open the door for women and people color and hand off the baton.”

As the final clip from CONFIDENCE demonstrates, however, even with more and more people becoming aware of the issues, the battle is far from over. The final moments of the short show the lead walking into the new job she’s landed as a result of Myers’ products — and being checked out by her new male coworkers.

”It was a debate, honestly, to put that clip in there, but I felt like it placed nicely because of the uphill battle of feminism and equality that women face,” Myers said. And that even the most prestigious women in the most powerful decisions can still be dismissed as being a skirt no matter how qualified or experienced you are. And that’s doubly for a woman of color.”

And something Myers would like viewers to take away from her project is that women need to help other women. Fittingly, she ended the conversation by expressing her gratitude for all of the women who helped bring her vision to life.

“I’m super grateful for all the skills that the women on the project brought,” Myers concluded. “I was the fire and the engine that got it going, but I couldn’t have done it without all the women who showed up. To have 50 women show up on a project that had no budget — to give their time because they thought it said something meaningful — was really special. So I just want to say thank you.”

“I would love if confidence was a real thing because people should dream big about their lives and women should not have to fight so hard all the time and be so much better for the same opportunity,” she added.

And the only thing left to say, really, is cheers to that.

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To learn more about Myers brand, visit the website and check out its YouTube channel.