Actresses Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lawrence, and Melissa McCarthy speak out on sexism. From body-shaming to salary disparity and leading roles, some of Hollywood’s most powerful women are speaking out.
McCarthy has been ridiculed quite often in the press for her weight and looks, something not typically criticized in male actors. In a write-up of Identity Thief, the 2013 comedy starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, veteran movie reviewer Rex Reed not only annihilates the movie, but also body-shames McCarthy.
In the scathing write-up, Reed called McCarthy “cacophonous” and “tractor-sized” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” He also referred to her character in the “chunk of junk” movie as Bateman’s “female hippo” and a “screeching, humongous creep.”
In a more recent experience with sexism, McCarthy confronted one of her critics at a screening of her latest movie, Spy. According to McCarthy, she met one of her critics at the Toronto Film Festival in September, 2014, when the critic approached her to praise her work in St. Vincent.
“Are you the one who wrote I was only a good actor when I looked more attractive and that my husband (Ben Falcone) should never be allowed to direct me because he allowed me to look so homely?” she asked.
When the critic responded affirmatively, McCarthy, speaking out on sexism, asked if he’d have said the same thing of a male actor who portrayed a depressed, struggling, and disheveled character. She went on to ask if the critic had a daughter. When he said yes, she asked him one important question.
“Do you tell her she’s only worthwhile or valid when she’s pretty?”
Actress Salma Hayek co-hosted the Variety and UN Women’s panel discussion on gender equality at 68th Cannes Film Festival at Radisson Blu in Cannes, France, on May 16. During the event, Hayek spoke out on sexism and talked about everything from the wage gap to casting.
“They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”
More and more women have spoken out about sexism, including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who demanded the kind of compensation package her male counterparts were earning. The ACLU recently asked federal and state agencies to formally investigate discriminatory hiring practices in film and television.
“The only kind of movie where women make more than men is the porno industry,” Hayek said.
“It’s simple ignorance.”
Sony’s hacked e-mails revealed a troubling truth — that even the wealthiest and most powerful women among us are burdened by the ever-present gender pay gap.
For some time, conservatives have disputed the truth of the gender wage gap. Despite numerous credible studies showing that women earn roughly 77 percent of what men earn, conservatives attack the idea of a pay gap as “a myth” and “a total sham.” They claim that women make 23 percent less than men because women take time out of their careers to care for children, choose less demanding jobs, or fail to negotiate for higher salaries as vigorously as their male counterparts.
A recent study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that only 12 percent of protagonists were women. Yet, some of the biggest box office numbers of the year came from The Hunger Games‘ heroine, Katniss, along with Gone Girl and Maleficent.
Meryl Streep shared her theory as to why she thinks the number is so low for female protagonists during a panel at the Women in the World Summit. She said it’s difficult for her as an actress to have a story “men in the audience feel like they know what I feel.” She added that studios are aware of how “hard” it is for men to put themselves in the shoes of a female protagonist.
[Image Source: Vanity Fair]