Olivia Wilde: “Why Aren’t Women Being Empowered From A Young Age By The Media?”

Olivia-wilde

If you are unfamiliar with the Vday movement, then don’t waste another moment getting in the know. It is a global activist movement campaign which aims to end violence against women and girls globally, by raising awareness through creative means, and urging communities and local authorities to rally around those affected by violence.

It was launched in 2001 by Eve Ensler, and is observed every year on February 14. The “V” stands for victory, valentine and vagina. Eve Ensler is the woman who wrote ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and has gone on to create something monumental around the world. ‘One Billion Rising‘ is the 15th anniversary of the V Day movement, and is called such because 1 in 3 women experience violence in her lifetime. This means over 1 billion women on the planet have been victims of violence, and the movement is calling upon 1 billion people to rise up in every sector across the world to take a stand for these victims.

On Valentines day 2014, they held a panel called ‘The State of Female Justice: Los Angeles’ in (you guessed it) Hollywood where a group of women spoke about how this powerful medium can be a used to educate women and change the way women are represented in film and TV. The panel included Laura Flanders from GRITtv, Susan Burton (A New Way Of Life re-entry program), Eve Ensler, V-Day board member Kimberle Crenshaw, Ashley Franklin (Community Rights Campaign), and Gayle McLaughlin the Mayor of Richmond, California.

The other woman on the panel was actress and activist Olivia Wilde, who has been very outspoken about wanting to help women. During the live panel, they talked about how Hollywood might be responsible for the economic, racial, and cultural violence toward women, and how the industry can work to change this.

“Our responsibility is to be story tellers, and why aren’t we telling the stories that are educating the masses to empower them to avoid a lot of these situations.”

She goes on to say that communities who gather and support one another can be better equipped to take a stand against injustice.

“Why aren’t women being empowered from a young age by the media?” she asks.

the-state-of-female-justice-los-angeles-v-day

Olivia talks about how women in Hollywood have their own struggles in getting their voices heard, which is part of the problem regarding better representation.

“It’s really hard to get stories made that are about women, not just women being obsessed with men. And it’s really hard to get men to be part of films that are about women in a leading role.”

She makes a very good point that a lot of the media and entertainment we consume is based on demand, and we are the ones who have the power to change this. “So really the power is in our hands, it’s just a matter of asking for it much louder.”

Olivia took part in a regular event that takes place at LACMA where actors read lines from a popular movie. The movie they chose was ‘American Pie’ except that they reversed the gender roles. She said it was fascinating to see the roles reversed because now the girls played the central characters, had all the good lines, and all the great moments. The men, however, got really bored and uncomfortable and most of them afterward said they didn’t realize how boring a lot of the stereotypical female roles are in films, playing the sidekick.

As she explains this exercise she says how the movie was just as funny and impactful having the women play the lead roles, meaning there is no reason not to have more female lead characters in Hollywood.

Sigourney Weaver’s role in the ‘Alien’ franchise was originally written for a man, and Angelina Jolie’s lead role in ‘Salt’ was originally created for Tom Cruise, yet these films went on to achieve great box office and cult-hit success even with these unlikely females cast as the pivotal protagonist instead of a man.

“It’s very difficult to get a movie financed with a woman in a lead role, and that’s something as a producer I am starting to become really familiar with,” says Olivia after mentioning that things are slowly changing in Hollywood.

She says these are things that must change in order for the media to be a positive force for people all over the world because the media’s incredible reach is undeniable.

“We HAVE to do a better job of representing different lifestyles and women in empowered roles because literally everybody is seeing this stuff that we put out so we have to be more responsible about what we do put out.”

Yes and amen Olivia! It’s no secret that giving women better visibility and diversity in the media will be a key ingredient in affecting the lives of young girls in a positive way. Ladies, if there is ever a time to become a writer, producer, director or even a casting agent in the film industry, it is now.

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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST CONVERSATIONS: Bollywood Babe Priyanka Chopra And Actress & Humanitarian Olivia Wilde - GirlTalkHQ

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