Her Campus Profile: Callie Martin

Meet Callie Martin, a masters student and teaching assistant here at York University, with a passion for video games, cats, and highlighting women in digital technology. Keep reading to learn more about why she loves York, and what it’s like to be a woman in the media industry.

Name: Callie Martin

Program/Year: Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies (2nd Year)

Job: Teaching Assistant/Freelance Columnist

Age (optional): 10 days younger than Jennifer Lawrence.

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

Coffee order: I only rarely order coffee (and if I do, it’s because someone gave me a gift card). I prefer to make it at home myself, but I have a very specific formula of a medium roast, then some sugar-free hazelnut/vanilla syrup, then a ¼ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It’s never a good idea to bring me coffee (though the thought is appreciated) – it’s the only food/drink I’m picky about (I swear).

Current favourite song: It changes all the time, but anything on the Alternative/Indie radio stations (or anything by Lindsey Stirling). It just needs to have a good beat!

Favourite quote: “The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise.” -- Miguel de Cervantes (I almost got this tattooed on me once, but thankfully talked myself out of it at the last minute.)

Favourite place to study?

The couch in my apartment, surrounded by my two cats (Emmy and Lily) and wrapped in a blanket. I hate desks – I have to be comfy when I’m working.

What made you choose York?

They’re a leading university in all things tech and digital, so as a lady who studies video games, it was my most sensible option.

What do you love about your program?

The people. I lucked out with some really awesome colleagues who always challenge me and call me on my BS when it’s necessary (and trust me, it’s necessary).

The media industry is generally male-dominated. What are some of the challenges of being a woman in your field of study?

Same challenges of being a woman anywhere – you’re going to be belittled with sexual comments from time-to-time, but I’ve come to accept that it’s mostly men asserting their masculinity to other men, and has very little to do with me. That doesn’t make it ok, but it helps me not get as angry as I used to.

How do you deal with misogyny in your schooling and career?

Poorly.

But seriously, I’m fortunate that I have always been surrounded by a “girl squad” with whom I’ve formed really strong bonds, so we all look out for each other. When men in our long-spanning academic careers have discussed our bodies (or more specifically, what they want to do to our bodies), we all group together and support each other (usually over wine).

Why do you think there is such a lack of representation of strong women in the media? What can we do about it?

My short answer is that men created the system, and so men decided the representation of strength needed to be hypermasculinity, which women then needed to replicate in order to be taken seriously as “strong”.

In order to solve this, I think the half of the solution involves having more women at the helm in media, and the other half is helping men realize that hypermasculinity is not the only type of strength there is. I think it’s damaging to both genders – men feel like they have to replicate what is essentially the “Victoria’s Secret Supermodel” of men (male superheroes, which often aren’t the best role models for appearances or personal relationships to begin with), and women then have to do the same because men are taught that hypermasculinity is the only way to truly be “strong”. It’s one way, sure, and if you identify with it – awesome, but there are many, many other ways that strength can be demonstrated outside of giant muscles, chiseled jawlines and emotional unavailability.

Who are some of your favourite women who are making an impact in Canadian media?

My brain immediately lists Jen Jenson and Caitlin Fisher (who themselves are professors at York, the latter being my supervisor), followed by literally any woman who works at BioWare or in the digital landscape. I can’t name that many people right now because not many get the opportunity for prominence, but hopefully we’re changing all that.

Do you have any advice for young women who are interested in studying media arts?

Yes, leave and go into a trade – they’re much more practical.

Kidding – just be aware that you’re going to have to work a little harder sometimes to be taken seriously. It sucks, but you’re going to meet some amazing people (women and men) who will make it all worthwhile.

We here at York University are so lucky to have such a smart, hard-working woman doing what she loves as part of our community. Thanks to Callie for sharing her thoughts with Her Campus. Keep up the great work!