Salma Hayek is not one to take things lightly especially when it comes to how women are treated. Hayek was at Cannes addressing an audience on Tuesday when she said that women in Hollywood are looked upon as performing monkeys.
Hayek also said during her talk for the Kering Women in Motion series at the Cannes Film Festival that the industry gets furious when actresses get smart. According to the 50-year-old actress, the moment women in Tinseltown wise up and start to talk, the “macho” film executives quickly try to get rid of them.
“If you’re pretty you can get parts easier but it’s really violent to assume if you are pretty, you are stupid.”
As reported by Yahoo! News, Hayek believes ignorance plays a major part in this travesty. She revealed that women make up 80 percent of the decision-makers in the industry. More women decide what film or TV show should be made, released, or aired. Hayek, herself a producer, stressed that women today enjoy the liberty of working, making money, going out, and having fun. However, according to Salma, women have failed to capitalize on that freedom, especially in the industry.
“In the 70 years of the Cannes Film Festival, only one female has ever won the Palme d’Or and she got half the Palme d’Or, not even a full one – she had to share it with a Chinese man.”
Jane Campion shared the distinction of winning the prestigious award in 1993 with Chen Kaige. Campion earned the Palme d’Or for The Piano while Chen did it for Farewell My Concubine. It has been 24 years since a woman got on stage to accept the festival’s top prize.
Hayek also stressed that she experienced discrimination early in her attempt to enter the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Salma attended a drama school where she was the only Mexican or Latino. Actor Benicio del Toro, who is Puerto Rican, also attended the school but was not subjected to what she had to go through. Hayek said that people were laughing at her for trying to break into Hollywood. Agents and studios did not take her seriously because, for them, “it was a laughable concept”. In comparison, Hayek said that no one laughed at del Toro during their stay at the same school.
The Mexican-American actress had her breakthrough role as famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film Frida. Her performance earned her a Best Actress nomination from different award-giving bodies including the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and the BAFTA Award.
Hayek, who also moonlights as a model, is also known for Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Fools Rush In, and Wild, Wild West. She started acting in Mexico where she won an Ariel Award before leaving her home to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Salma is not the only woman to lash out on the perceived maltreatment of actresses in Hollywood. Barbra Streisand expressed her dismay for losing out on Oscar nominations because of sexism in the industry. Oscar Award winner Natalie Portman also criticized the gender pay gap in Hollywood, calling it “crazy” after she was paid three times less than Ashton Kutcher in the 2011 rom-com No Strings Attached. Sandra Bullock and Jessica Chastain have also expressed their concern regarding sexism in Hollywood particularly in how women in the industry are undervalued in comparison to their male counterparts.
Some actors have also chimed in. Daniel Radcliffe readily said that Hollywood is racist when he was asked during an interview back in 2015. The star of the Harry Potter franchise expressed that racism and sexism is “pretty undeniable.” He credits Jennifer Lawrence for starting the talk about the pay disparity among peers as well as sexism in Hollywood, in general. Lawrence wrote an essay focused on how the industry favors men over women especially when it comes to opportunities, recognitions, and salaries. The Hunger Games star was paid less than Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale for their work on 2013’s American Hustle.
Radcliffe did say that things are gradually looking brighter for everyone as he sees a difference in the scripts he reads. However, according to the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap will take 170 years to close.
Hayek is a known proponent against sexism, discrimination, and violence against women. Salma is a breastfeeding advocate and a supporter of the Violence Against Women Act. She is also involved with charities and has actively campaigned for women’s rights. Her tirade against sexism in Hollywood is just the latest of her actions to help women gain the respect that is rightfully theirs.
[Featured Image by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP Images]