If you missed it a few weeks back, some of Hollywood’s most powerful actresses called out producers, consumers, and promoters of the entertainment industry.
And really, it’s time they did.
At a summit in Cannes, some fine famous females – like Selma Hayek, Aishwarya Rai, and Parker Posey – and influential female producers hit back at gender inequality.
Sharing their own experiences of industry sexism, they called on studios, audiences, and journalists to demand change.
This year’s panel comes after the Cannes Film Festival came under fire last year for featuring only two female directors in the competition. Though history repeated itself this year with the same number, a female-directed film was chosen as the opening-night film.
The forum was organized by trade magazine Variety and UN Women’s HeForShe campaign – and the leading ladies held little back, sharing their own stories of institutional sexism.
Stating that cinema undermines the intelligence of females, Hayek said that, “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force. It’s incredible ignorance. Hollywood doesn’t have this business vision.”
As far as Parker Posey is concerned, we still live in “very masculine times.” And she’s sick of it. “The culture is eating nature; it’s overpowering storytelling. Movies are turning into games – it’s about the image not nuance. We’re also live in very ghoulish times. It’s very bloody,” she said.
A hot topic of debate was the beloved romcom, which – according to the panel – was no longer a respected genre in film the way it once was. In fact, it’s a dying genre. “I thought I’d have a career playing the best friend in romantic comedies,” she said. “What happened to that?”
If you think they’re overreacting, consider this: according to findings by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, only 12 per cent of the protagonists of top-grossing films over the last decade were women, and only seven per cent of the top 250 movies in the past decade were directed by women.
Let’s not forget that their consistently underpaid compared to their male counterparts. “The only kind of film where women make more money than men is in the porno industry,” said Hayek.
So yeah, we have a long way to go.
“I’m so used to being patronized it doesn’t really bother me. I take it in strides. It’s part of the job,” says veteran producer Christine Vachon.
Well, the first step is having their voices heard. And when a force like Selma Hayek speaks out, we can only hope that others will listen.