Category Archives: Women

Handling Oppression

Some of you have followed me for a long time, so you know my story and how I came out of a pretty wild childhood. For those of you who don’t, you can check out my book, or just give me the benefit of the doubt. But when I tell you I know what it’s like to be pushed down, oppressed, sat on (literally), and told to believe that I am less than I am -consistently  from many different people in many different walks of life, I am really not kidding.

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On day I realized: I am a magnet for people who like to make others feel bad. Why is this? Do I have a sign on my butt that says, “kick me?” Do I give off “walking wounded?” I don’t think so, and my friends don’t think so. So what’s the deal?


I finally figured it out. I’m an artist, but not just as in the “I paint canvas” or in a “I’m a good actor” kind of way. I’m an artist in that I have a special gift, that I really love people. It gives me joy to help another human being. This is just a fact of who I am. I am also a communicator. I help people far and wide. This is also just a fact or who I am. I can’t be any different.

 It gives me joy to help another human being.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-10-55-45-amThere are some folks out there who are just the opposite: they like to smush people. The only way they feel good about themselves is when other people feel bad about themselves. I’m sure you’ve met some along your walk in life. Sure, there can be something appealing about the whole “gossipy/bitchy, I’m better than you are” thing, but deep down you know that’s One Unhappy Person, and that it makes you feel bad to participate in that kind of talk.

My documentary is taking the issue of oppression and bias head on, but men aren’t the only offenders. Women may be the one’s who are suffering from being oppressed but we are also contributors to our oppression and therefore an essential part of liberating ourselves from it.

Women may be the one’s who are suffering from being oppressed but we are also contributors to our oppression and therefore an essential part of liberating ourselves from it.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “WTF? Dude’s be like, frickin’ rude to me sometimes! I don’t deserve that!” And you are right. You don’t deserve it. But what are you doing to stop it?

I am not letting myself off the hook. Here’s an example of when I should have done something and didn’t.


On a soap set, a few of us actors were gathered waiting for a scene to begin. I had recently cut bangs in my hair. One of the men (a pretty famous guy whose job was secured by his many years of work there) said to me, “I’d never f*#k a woman with bangs.”

Yes, he actually said that. And this was one of the “nice guys.”

What did I do? Did I say, “That’s totally inappropriate and an unacceptable way to speak to me.”? No. I did not. I was shocked, but I laughed it off. I didn’t even say, “Well, thank goodness because I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole.” I said NOTHING.

What did I do? I said NOTHING.

This is me participating in my own oppression. This is one of a thousand times I have heard this kind of talk on set.

I was worried I wouldn’t be seen as cool. I was worried I would lose my job. At that moment, my personal dignity and the respect I should have earned (I had two Emmy’s at the time) was less important than my need to “keep the peace.” But what peace? Who’s peace?


It has taken me a long time to come around to this, but this is what I believe: I believe that because I did not RESIST the oppression, because I did not correct it, I allowed the oppression to continue.

 I believe  that because I did not RESIST the oppression, because I did not correct it, I allowed the oppression to continue.

I don’t think I am the only woman to whom this has ever happened. In fact, I’m damn sure this happens far more often than women like to talk about because it hurts to talk about it. What can make it harder is that (sometimes) we are shamed for talking about it, or blamed that it exists in the first place. Let’s just call the shaming and blaming for what it is, shall we? JUSTIFICATION by the person oppressing, for behavior that is beneath their own moral standards. AKA a shifty tap-dance of B.S.

So what can we do, as women, to stop getting trash talked? Or worse, hit? Shamed? Blamed? Attacked?

We have to speak up. We have to support one another. We have to take action. We must not give it power by silently allowing it to continue. Because when we do, we become complicit in the oppression. We not only let it fester within ourselves, we allow it to be passed down to our daughters, our sons. We allow it to become a habit. We allow it to become acceptable.

We have to speak up. We have to support one another. We have to take action.

Please know, I don’t blame you. I’ve jumped right into the game as an “equal opportunity offender.” In the vein of the old, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” routine, I thought, “Play the game they play. Be more rude, more wild, tougher than any dude.”

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-8-06-26-pmI got so tough in my years in New York City I was literally challenging men to fight me, on the spot. With a loud voice and shaking hands I was 100% ready to get the crap beaten out of me just for the opportunity to fight back and exhibit all the rage I felt from the constant, merciless disrespect. I’m not that person anymore, thank god. I had to let all the rage and hate go. It did not serve me. I had to find another way, a better way. A stronger way. I had to regain my self respect, my dignity, my sense of having something about myself that was worth fighting for. And it all came down to this: I HAD TO SPEAK UP IN THE MOMENT TO SAY NO.


NO. What a  beautiful word. Total and complete in it’s meaning. Start a sentence with it and the rest of the words will come rolling out as they need to. “No, I don’t like being talked to that way. No, I will not let you speak to me like that. No, you cannot pay me less than my colleague.”

You can also stand up for other women. Letting people know that it’s not okay to talk badly about your friend or colleague is not only a show of your strength, but can change the dynamic of an entire group. “Hey, she’s my friend and I think it’s not cool to talk about her like that,” is a lovely thing to say.

However you choose to handle it: RESIST. RESIST. RESIST THE OPPRESSION. The person exhibiting it is like a balloon filled with hot air. They will not last. They will not succeed.  Join with like-minded women and good men who support this kind of resistance and the oppression will not last.

They might even realize how wrong they were and change their tune. It’s been known to happen. And you know what’s so awesome about that? It gives us the opportunity to forgive and allow that person to come back home to their true, good self.

It gives us the opportunity to forgive and allow that person to come back home to their true, good self.

Which is one of the most awesome feelings of all.



The Pain of Creating

From the desk of Cady McClainI’m going to be honest with you. Creating is not easy.

Making anything, even a quiche for goodness sakes, take effort, thought, concentration and caring.

Making a film? Fogettaboutit.


Since I’ve started on this journey I’ve had a handful of breakdown/breakthroughs. I’ve cried wondering why some men in show business can be so thoughtlessly dominating. I’ve cried wondering why some women can be so competitive and cruel. I’ve cried from feeling a lack of support. I’ve cried wondering why I chose such a difficult subject.

I’ve cried the hardest realizing how so much of all of this is really about my mother.

Mom… Truly, the most powerful influence in my life was that nutty, brilliant, madwoman. She who often gave up on herself, but who (despite her harsh words sometimes) never gave up on me.

Her pain at feeling like there wasn’t a place for her voice in the world sunk deep down into my bones. Her fear at putting her work out there echoed into my heart. Her loneliness, her anger at men, her wounds… they have been my encyclopedia of womanhood.

The other day I turned to Jon and said, “My mom at my age was massively overweight, fighting cancer, a heavy drinker, and unemployed. She had all but given up on herself in every way. I could hardly blame her.  Life had ostensibly beat the crap out of her from an early age. So when I live a life completely differently, without any other woman who I am holding onto for guidance or support, I am not only breaking the mold of what I was taught being an adult woman is, but I am forming an entirely new one completely on my own. And that, sometimes, is very scary.”

However, for me, there is no option but forward. Because one day not so long ago, I realized I can only go in one of two directions: toward drinking, overeating, giving up on my art and myself and getting sick; or toward health, spirituality, and continuously risking to make the art that calls to me. That’s it. One way or the other. Because it’s the way my DNA is coded, the way the story came down to me.

I can choose: one way or the other.

Sometimes I feel guilty for being a survivor, for not following her path of suffering. Who am I to succeed, to thrive, to be well?

I am my mother’s daughter. And I must believe that despite her pain and loneliness, she would not want for me what she endured.

I am my mother’s daughter. And I must believe that despite her pain and loneliness, she would not want for me what she endured.

So, I hang onto the motto: NEVER GIVE UP. Because by not quitting, by staying on the path, by gluing myself to the task at hand, I know I am evolving myself into what my soul wants me to be. I am the EVOLUTION of my mom, and all the women in my family before her on both sides. I know she, and every one of those women, would want me to be more than a survivor.

They would want me to shine like an exploding sun.

And I, in turn, want that for every one of you. Because we are all capable of great things, and of lifting up this beautiful, troubled world up, together.

We CAN ALL be heroes… one day at a time….



Can You Live Without Comparison?

Me and my Co-editorAs some of you might know, for the past year I’ve been working on a documentary about women directors. It’s kept me a hella busy, so I apologize for not blogging more!

One of the directors I spoke to (Kimberly McCullough)  had an interesting insight. She said that making independent film is a lot like starting a business… over and over again.  In my experience that is absolutely right.  Every project you make is it’s own entity that you hope has a long life of it’s own from inception to distribution.  But you are always starting from the beginning, and that’s hard work.

So it’s really important if you think you want to make a documentary or any kind of film to think about the whole journey.

Ask yourself, “Who is this story for, really?”

This will guide you through every step of the decision making, and get ready because there are tons of decisions to be made.

If I’m brutally honest with myself,  I started out making this film for me, because I felt really lonely as a director that happened to be female. Every festival I took my short films to was crammed with dudes. In 2015, I didn’t see any women treated like “up and coming visionaries,” only young men were. One time I was given a “producer” tag when I was the producer, writer, AND the director, as well as costume and production design… In short: it was my vision! My film! And someone doing the tags at the film festival basically couldn’t believe it.

Winning Moment

(note: the pink sticker, qualifying me as a “producer only.”)

This, as you can imagine, sucked. And then I won an award for “Best Comedy Drama Short!”  Ironic to say the least.

I recall looking at the few women who were at these festivals. I can’t say they looked that happy about what they were having to deal with either, which was, if it boils right down to it, a basic lack of imagination.

Men aren’t the only people who can have a vision and execute it. What’s so hard to imagine about that?

Because of these experiences I realized that I couldn’t just make the film for me or even just for women in the field, because the issue isn’t relegated to women directors.

It’s much, much bigger than that.

The issue is one of perception. How we as a culture SEE women.

Sometimes it feels like any time a woman really steps out and stands up for something, like crabs in a barrel, there are thousands of people (men AND women) who are ready to tear her down for her smallest faults or imperfections.

This really needs to stop. We are all so much better than this.

One woman’s success does not mean your failure.

In fact, it means there is a strong possibility that YOU COULD DO THE SAME THING.

Bethany Rooney, a director of over 200 episodes of television, gave me this wonderful quote: “Can you live without comparison?” Think about it. Instead of comparing, how about we get inspired by great women? Instead of thinking, “Oh I’m not good enough,” saying, “What do I need to do in order to be my greatest self?”

Here’s a fantastic video to help you start to see just how powerful and amazing women can be! Yes, someday, YOU could join this amazing list of women who have overcome incredible obstacles.

And how wonderful would that be?


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How to Make a Documentary Part 1

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Director Lesli Linka Glatter” from “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct”

So many people have an idea for what would make a good doc, but not that many people act on it. If you are one of those people considering getting into the field of documentary films, here’s some advice from the frontline!

First, you need to have an idea that inspires you so much, you are willing to spend a full year or more of your life on it. That’s really important. You are going to eat, sleep, and dream about your subject. Even worse, your wife or husband and all your friends are going to hear about it ad nasuem because it’s pretty much going to become an obsession. So choose wisely what subject you are going to spend endless amounts of time with.

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Director Finola Hughes on set, from “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct”

For me it was women directors, partly because I am one and was feeling like an endangered species. Women directors have been up until recently practically invisible. Now, in part because of the EEOC’s investigation into charges of discrimination against women filmmakers in Hollywood, there is a lot more media attention on the subject.

Although there are some important changes starting to happen, it is the larger, overall understanding of what women are capable of that is still stuck in the past. For example, just the other day I was talking to a very nice fellow, telling him about my project.

He said, “Oh, I didn’t know women directed movies. How cool!”

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 1.06.41 PMI reminded him that a woman won the Oscar for directing a few years ago, thinking he must’ve recalled that historic moment.

He said, “Oh right. What was her name? She’s the only one that directs movies, right?”

I am positive he is not the only person who thinks this.

I think it’s fair to say that most people have no idea how many women are out there fighting for respect and a place in creative leadership positions. Positions not only in the film and television industry, but in finance, tech, the sciences, and academia. Women worldwide are still dealing with a pervasive idea that we are limited in our capabilities based on our gender.

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Director Leah Meyerhoff from “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct”

This is the perception that I, and many others, are trying to change. People like directors Lesli Linka Glatter, Leah Meyerhoff, and Sarah Gavron all care about making sure other women in the directing field have opportunities they they themselves have had to fight tirelessly to achieve. I’ve had the privilege to interview them and can tell you, they really are doing everything they can to help change the landscape of bias and transform it into opportunity for women.

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Director Sarah Gavron from “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct”

When I think about the years of time these women (and women like them) have spent working to make it in their field, women who could just focus on themselves and their careers but who still do everything they can to help others, it inspires me.

I know I can spend at least a year or more of my life on a documentary about these women. I know that my film, no matter it’s level of success, will ultimately be an effort full of integrity and passion, meant to help uplift all people, but especially those of the female gender. For me, that feels like something worthy of my time here on the planet.

What do YOU feel passionate about changing in this world? Think about it. Are you willing to spend a year of your life thinking about it? Then I bet it would make a really interesting documentary.

Next up: figuring out HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY.


Beauty Cares

Recently I was asked to decorate a “wife beater” t-shirt by my friend, artist Susan Woldman, for a charity called “Beauty Cares.” The purpose of the group is to help raise awareness of women who have suffered domestic violence. I wrote “wife hugger” on my t-shirt, hoping that might be a fun new name we could try out instead of “wife beater,” which is so gross. “Sleeveless tank” is probably more appropriate, but what the hey! Jon made one too!

Jon's T-shirt for Beauty Cares

You can read all about Beauty Cares here, but also check out the “8 Warning Signs That Indicate You Are In an Unhealthy Relationship.” I hate to say it, but I know for SURE I have experienced ALL of these. Thank god I left those relationships.

I really like that the charity also helps women feel better about themselves by giving them a bit of a makeover. I know it sounds frivolous at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason I stayed in unhealthy relationships was partly because I didn’t feel like I was worth better.  When I actually allowed myself to look in the mirror and say, “GIRL, YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THIS,” I allowed myself to leave and look for someone who could treat me with love and respect. Feeling like I looked good helped with this. I guess it’s a matter of pride. Personal pride is very important.

Me and my t-shirt

But beauty is also an INSIDE job. We may be all prettied up on the outside, but if we don’t feel beautiful on the inside, it’s like wearing a mask. How to feel pretty on the inside? Prayer helps, as does letting in all the nice things people may have said to you in your life. LET IT IN. I know it’s hard. Trust me. It’s much easier to let the ego go wild and believe all the bad things people say, so sometimes, I make a list. Another thing is to try and stop being so hard on yourself. Every time you have a negative thought, either say a little prayer, or replace it with a positive one. It really works.

Art day!Here is Susan’s table, covered with our art! We had such a fun time making these t-shirts. I highly recommend making some art when you feel bad. It’s a great way to turn the day around!

Wishing you a BEAUTY-FULL day!

xoxo Cady

Photo by Leslie Hassler

Let’s Talk About Sex

Okay. You’ve all heard the news, All My Children is going to be a bit more risqué than usual. Yep. I am not the first to mention it, but I thought I might be one of the first to put it on the table for discussion. Let’s talk about sex, and about sex in our dramatic entertainment. Too much? Not enough? Well you can bet I have an opinion.

My opinion is this: sex is a good thing, wait, scratch that, sex is a GREAT thing! It’s a healthy impulse and a wonderful way to enjoy being, well, about as close as you can get to someone. Frankly, I think we have WAY too MUCH violence and way too LITTLE love making in our entertainment. This is probably because we are a country based on a puritan ethos that doesn’t really want to admit, we ALL LIKE SEX.

Do I recommend using birth control? YOU BET. Do I recommend only having sex when you are ready with someone that you truly CARE about? ABSO-F-ING-LUTELY. Is the young generation having a sexual revolution that no one is really TALKING ABOUT? ONE MILLION TIMES YES.

On another note: do you remember when the soaps were mostly LOVE stories, all leading up to the big moment when the characters would make love? Weren’t those FUN stories to watch? It wasn’t disgusting it was beautiful. I don’t know where those moments went but I am sure happy they are coming back. Passion is important!

I think it’s just as important to remember that as everyone has a different taste in clothes, so we all have a different taste in our fantasies and our lovemaking style. You can learn a lot about a person when you learn these details. When you look at a story from a sexual point of view, these choices are as much a part of a character as their fears, hopes and dreams.

Nudity-smooditty.  So WHAT.  The human body is beautiful and I will admit that I like to look at it, whether it’s a beautiful man or a beautiful woman.  And it doesn’t matter what age they are as long as they are an appropriate age and a consenting adult.

Sexiness is beautiful.  It is something we can and should ALL enjoy, no matter what age we are. Why not let ourselves relax a little?  It might just make for a happier world!

(I swear I am hearing Barry White applauding right now!)


50 Years of Catwoman: In Her Satin Tights, Fighting for Women’s Rights

Click the link below to be taken to a fun new article I wrote with Matthew Rozsa.  You can check out more of his writing here:

50 Years of Catwoman: In Her Satin Tights, Fighting for Women’s Rights.


The Joys of Aging

There are a lot of people who are not happy with the fact that we age.  Entire industries and advertising campaigns are built around this feeling of worthlessness, focusing primarily on both functions and appearances that have decreased in, shall we say, lift.  Although I appreciate a good container of French face cream, and the happy results from a pill that makes a man last longer in the sack, I can’t say that the focus that our media puts on these two qualities as life changing is quite fair to our happiness quotient as human beings.  In fact, quite the opposite.

Women as they age can often become more desperate to retain a lost youth, using any means necessary to “fight” the natural process gravity exacts.  We as a gender can, generally, become depressed, anxious, bitter and intensely judgmental of both ourselves and other women.  Men aren’t that different.  They can become more aggressive, more power-hungry, date younger and younger women to prove their virility often looking more and more ridiculous in the process.  What to do?

In my humble opinion, there simply isn’t enough support out there for us to value age for the other qualities it brings.  Wisdom, insight, increased patience, humility and kindness are some internal effects that aging CAN have.  If you have taken the time to learn a craft, you might achieve a level of mastery at that craft and the attendant pleasure that practicing that mastery gives.  Some musicians are a point in fact.  How amazing were Annie Lennox and Brian May at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, rocking it out with wrinkles and gray hair flying wildly in the wind?

I am only in the earliest part of my journey towards middle age.  At 42, I am closer to my thirty-something counterparts in emotional charting, or you should think so, but the very mention of being my over 40 can sometimes have an interesting reaction in people.  Almost as if I should start planning my own funeral.  It would be funny if they weren’t so serious.

Apparently, I should be married.  I should have children.  I should be planning my husbands birthday rather than sitting here and writing about my opinion.  I should feel bad about how my eyes are going to shit, and how my neck certainly ain’t what it used to be.  I should be taking my children to summer camp.  I should be angry at younger women.  I should be mourning my youth.

But I’m not.

My youth (how can I say this gently) SUCKED.  I was treated like an object more than I was ever treated like a person, especially in show business but unfortunately even by some friends.  I was objectified, commodified, categorized and minimized – all because I was “young.” I ought to have been treated like a new egg with bright potential, hoping to make a difference in the world, but that rarely happened.  I was an object from which money could be made or sex could be culled.  Men of all ages (mostly older) hit on me, perhaps sensing my fragile daddy complex, and even lesbians took advantage of my complete naiveté.  I know some people saw me as strong and ambitious, but I can tell you now, I was scared shitless in total survival mode. Coming from this experience, why would I ever want to be YOUNG?

I love young people.  I thrill at being able to give them some insight.  I love being able to tell them, “I know how tough it can be, hold onto your dream, you can do it.”  I don’t feel threatened by them, whether they’re men or women.  I like children, and perhaps I will have one someday, but I have also listened carefully to my friends who say, “THINK ABOUT IT” and have paused.  I’m still thinking about it.  I have never gotten married because of one reason: I don’t want to go through a divorce.  My parents marriage and divorce was a total nightmare.  I’ve been through horrible, catastrophic, emotionally debilitating break ups, one that even sent me spiraling into a years long depression.  If getting a divorce is WORSE that THAT, I take marriage very, very seriously.

When I was a teenager my mother would tell me, “Katie, make sure to always have your own money and to make it before you are 40, because no man will want you after that, and no one will hire you.”  WHAT A MESSAGE!  What a load of bullshit.  Sadly, this message is still being put out there, causing thousands of women to feel total despair about their lives.  I’ve often thought about the 1970’s movie “Logan’s Run,” where a society creates a game out of a death machine, created to kill everyone (men and women) on their 30th birthday.  The characters would float up in the sky and literally explode.  Only Logan saw it for what it was and said, “I’m getting the f*ck out of here.”  Is it a surprise to hear me say, “I’m with Logan”?

The bottom line is this: our negative reinforcements of the stereotypes of the unhappy aging person are really uncool and yes, I believe it’s worse for women than it is for men, although it isn’t easy for either gender.

So this blog is my official shout out to all the men and women over 40,50, 60, 70 and on up.  You know, THE REST OF US.  You are NEEDED.  Society needs you to be vocal, to be present about your opinion.  We need you to NOT shrink away, shamed by your neck or balls or whatever, and for you to claim your value as people PUBLICLY.   I, personally, want to see more older women talking about what they THINK, not about what skin cream they use or what designer clothes they are wearing.  I want more older men to stop fighting each other for a power position and talk about what really MATTERS in life, and for both genders to get busy talking about how to help young people THAT AREN’T THEIR CHILDREN.

That is what older people are FOR in a society.  They are not to be locked up in some home so they can sit around watching TV and tasting 50 f*cking flavors of ice cream.  They need to be IN SOCIETY to we can HEAR what they have learned about life!

I know they are tired.  I’m tired, too, but not that tired.  I’ve been kicked in the ass more times than I would like, but I am not defeated.

COURAGE, my friends.  TAKE HEART.  Society needs you to help guide it.  To help keep it on the right track.  Don’t give up.  Vote.  Write a blog.  Start a business.  Council a kid.  It matters.  YOU matter.

So who cares about your neck?  Please.  In the larger scheme of things, it’s so unimportant.  This is why I chose a photo of Hillary Clinton for this blog.  No woman in the public eye has been more picked on for her appearance, when what really matters about her is her FABULOUS MIND.  She’s a brilliant, strong, decisive, amazing woman who is out there fighting the good fight.  I am proud to be an American with her working in public office.  So she’s aging?  WHO CARES?  That conversation is soooo boring.