Ali Vingiano is a feminist writer, filmmaker, and video producer who's created dozens of videos, both funny and serious, for Buzzfeed, Glamour, and other channels, tackling topics like abortion, unhealthy relationships, and assault. Her work has been viewed over 400 million times (goddamn), and "EXES," her short film about running into your ex that's real AF, was named as a Vimeo Staff Pick and played at festivals all around the globe. So when we watched her latest video, “Are Women Equal?”, we weren’t surprised that it's a social commentary hit.
In the video, Ali addresses how the Equal Rights Amendment, which was introduced in 1923 and grants equality of rights under the law regardless of sex, wasn’t passed. And has never been passed, even though it’s been introduced in every. single. congressional. session. since 1982. When Ali interviews people on the street, it turns out that a lot of people didn’t know it was never passed (I didn’t) and that some people think it’s unnecessary because women are already equal in this day 'n' age. So Ali does some digging to figure out what the fuckin’ deal is. She discovers, among other disappointments, that more state abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade and that it’s estimated that women lose $500 billion per year because of the pay gap. Tell that to the next chick on your social media that doesn’t think it’s necessary to fight for women’s rights.
I also hit her up to ask about advocating for equality, the backlash that comes along with controversy, and making a name for yourself, so after you watch "Are Women Equal?", see what this bae had to say below. Then, check out her website and YouTube channel, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
A lot of the videos that you make address controversial topics from a liberal lens. Have you gotten any backlash? How do you deal with it?
Yeah I have, and it’s definitely tough at times. Even the “Are Women Equal?” video has a higher dislike ratio than some of my other videos, and it’s because it’s a feminist issue. Turns out, it is still controversial to say women should have equal rights. . . That shouldn’t be controversial. People are commenting saying they already feel equal — well, they probably haven’t been to court to fight a gender discrimination case. You can feel equal, but in reality you’re not. When you get criticism about these kinds of topics, it’s an indicator that you need to keep doing it. And you have to find new ways to get people to listen instead of just criticize.
What’s your personal advice for how women can fight for equality?
We hear this all the time, but call your legislator. Vote and work in your local elections. Those things really do make a difference. Join organizations that support equal rights. Social media is a good start for voicing your opinion, but also go into the world and work with people in real life. Nothing is more important that a face-to-face interaction. There are so many issues and organizations that it can be overwhelming for people, so just pick one organization that you’re passionate about, and do that one thing for 6 months. That’s what’s easiest for me. You can gain exposure to multiple things and find what works best for you personally.
I was at the Northside festival and saw Lauren Duca talking about how women are criticized for being multifaceted, talking about funny things and talking about serious things, whereas if a public male figure also knows about sports, he’s considered well-rounded and cool. Have you experienced this?
I'm stating a passion podcast, Killing It, and I actually talk about this with Lauren Duca on the show. I have experienced this — I make sketch videos about exes and then serious videos about rape and the Equal Rights Amendment. Men who are funny and serious are rewarded for it, but for women it’s used as a way to discredit them. So, it’s easiest for people to not take me seriously. My advice is to continue to be yourself, be bold, be funny. And put in the work. If people try to tear you down, your work will stand for itself.
What words of advice do you have for other women writing, creating, and generally trying to make a name for themselves?
I would say learn as much as possible, and learn how to do more than one thing. If you’re in film, for example, take the time to learn how to edit, rather than just star. And make as much as you can, and put it out there. It’s okay to be precious about your work in the beginning, but still do the work and practice. I heard one time that the reason why men are considered funnier in a pitch room is because they offer more jokes. Some don’t land, but some do. Women, on the other hand, will only pitch the thing they think is best. Don’t only give yourself one shot. Get all your ideas out there, even if you don’t think it’s perfect. Don’t wait for someone to give you an opportunity. Make it for yourself.
Photo: Ali Vingiano by Sela Shiloni
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Hannah Rose, historically just Hannah, naturally tried to change her name upon moving to NYC from Austin, Texas (but keeps forgetting). Originally from North Katy, Texas - the wrong side of the tracks. Will defend Kanye until the day she dies. Batshit crazy. Overall bae.