solving sexism in hollywood: how the actors and actresses are playing a role
George Clooney has spoken out recently, saying more lead male Hollywood roles could be switched to women. He argued that, ‘there are plenty of these films where you can stop and look and just change the gender and make a really interesting film. So we need to start thinking that way.’ His comments have come after female actresses, such as Emma Thomson, called out Hollywood on its sexist nature.
Emma Thompson has declared the sexism ingrained in big Hollywood films as ‘completely shit’, and, as the facts show, that’s exactly how it is. According to Jezebel, out of the 30,285 speaking characters cast in popular films from 2007 to 2014, only a measly 30.2% were women. And to make matters worse, only 11% of the 700 films examined had a gender-balanced cast. In IMDB’s latest round-up of the best movies of all time, the vast majority of these consisted of male leads, with no prominent female leads.
Thankfully good old George is here to save the day, turning over his lead role in Our Brand is Crisis to Sandra Bullock. But before you fall head over heels for Mr Clooney, you must be informed that this was actually Bullock’s idea, and George Clooney, being the gentlemen that he is, was happy to give his role to Bullock after she contacted him.
However, as Mr Clooney’s actions are far from the norm, it isn’t any surprise that sexism in Hollywood is continuing to grow. According to Jezebel, Emma Thompson told Radio Times that Hollywood is ‘in a worst state than I have known it, particularly for women and I find that very disturbing and sad.’ She also declared her support for young female actresses, saying, ‘nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent.’
There’s nothing more unpleasant then when a prominent male actor, Russell Crowe, says that the women fighting for equality in Hollywood are the ones who are too old to play the interesting parts. According to Jezebel, Russell stated in an interview with The Weekly, ‘To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that (the roles have dried up) is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21 year old.’ Mr Crowe was also reported as saying, ‘The point is, you do have to be prepared to accept that there are stages in life. So I can’t be the Gladiator forever.’ Ironically, Mr Crowe, being the grey old man that he is, was cast in the action-packed film Noah last year.
If the filmmakers aren’t willing to write their films to include lead women, it will be up to the actors and actresses to make a change. Hopefully more actors, such are George Clooney, will step up and hand their roles to women in order to reshape the face of Hollywood. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see a female Bond film or perhaps Terminator: the female version. The more women gracefully fighting crime, saving lives, killing baddies and performing incredible stunts on the big screen, the better.