In just the 8 months since Patricia Arquette stood on the Oscar stage demanding equality for women, particularly in Hollywood, so many other women have come out to discuss the way women are treated in the movie world.
In an hour long interview with Charlie Rose, Reese Witherspoon said “It’s time that we start seeing women for how complex they really are.” That’s why she started her own production company to create strong and multi-dimensional female characters.
Earlier this year, while speaking to E! Online, Sandra Bullock said the climate for women is unkind and discriminatory. It’s a problem for someone like her that is raising a son.
I feel like it’s become open hunting season in how women are attacked and it’s not because of who we are as people, it’s because of how we look or our age, Bullock said. I’m shocked—and maybe I was just naive, but I’m embarrassed by it. My son is getting ready to grow up in this world and I’m trying to raise a good man who values and appreciates women, and here we have this attack on women in the media that I don’t see a stop happening.
It gets worse. According to a 2014 report, “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars,” published in the Journal of Management Inquiry, women in Hollywood see their pay increase up until the age of thirty-four while men in Hollywood see it increase until the age of fifty-one. This on top of the fact that ninety-eight percent of films star more male characters than female characters.
This week, in an exclusive interview with Variety, Ashley Judd revealed that she was summoned to the hotel room of a mogul from a rival film studio while she was filming “Kiss the Girls” in the late 1990’s. He wanted to talk to her about roles in his movies. Uhh-huh. Right.
I was with a bunch of other actors, and it was critical that it was actors: The exact same thing had happened to them by the exact same mogul, Judd told Variety. Only when we were sitting around talking about it did we realize our experiences were identical. There was a mutual strengthening and fortification of our resolve.
He would coerce her to come to his hotel room for dinner hoping that she’d stay. He asked her to choose clothes he should wear and even for her to watch him shower. Ew.
She said it was disgusting, but that even as a feminist she didn’t fully understand what happened until years later. “I did not recognize at the time what was happening to me,” she said. “It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it.”
The fact that there were multiple women this happened to is heartbreaking. Judd is not only brilliant but talented. Stories of a “casting couch” in the 90s? One would have hoped that we were a little more sophisticated by that point, but clearly not. Hollywood continues to be a repulsive place that treats women as objects not as talented creative assets. I would give anything for female actors to give traditional studios who operate like this the finger and only work with women run production companies. Can you imagine how Hollywood would be crushed if all women said “no more” and refused to work like this?
Good for Judd for telling her story and actors like Witherspoon and Bullock for standing up too.
Feature image via Wikimedia commons.