Rose McGowan & Zoe Saldana The Latest Women To Call Out Sexism In Hollywood


Remember that time Maggie Gyllenhaal candidly revealed in an interview that she as a 37 year old was rejected from a major role in a film playing the love interest for an actor aged 55 because she was “too old”? Yeah, we haven’t forgotten about that either…

The Golden Globe Award-winning actress, mother and badass spokeswomen wasn’t afraid to call out the blatant sexism in Hollywood that still exists, and evidently right at the top of the A-list. There seems to be a surge in young women breaking free of the shackles that have bound actresses in the industry for so long to keep up appearances at all cost and not rock the boat.

There are women of all ages not being afraid to bite the hand that feeds them all the while pushing for better representation on screen and behind. The misogyny that still prevails in Hollywood today is one of the reasons why women are producing, directing and writing more of their own material in order to change the status quo, rather than perpetuate it.

While it may seem like a continual string of actresses complaining about the way women are treated (they are) they cannot stop speaking up. Audiences need to hear these inside perspectives and mostly unheard incidents, the media needs to share these statements, and most of all Hollywood executives need to know that they have a responsibility to treat women in the industry as equals, not commodities.

Two women who have been the most recent to share candid experiences of misogyny are Zoe Saldana and Rose McGowan.

Actor turned director Rose McGowan has talked previously about how the lack of interesting and diverse roles drove her to directing her own material and taking back the power in her career. More recently she has revealed a very specific example of blatant sexism that caught the attention of quite a few media headlines.


In an interview with Entertainment Weekly she talked about a casting notice she received for an Adam Sandler movie where the role called for the a lot of cleavage and form-fitting clothes. She was outraged that a casting notice would be this blatantly sexist and tweeted about it. In a succession of events she also shared that she and her acting agent parted ways, leaving the media to speculate she had been dropped for speaking out.

“It was just so dumb. I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up. It’s institutionally okay,” she said.

“It’s just the institutional stupidity and the institutional infantilization of actresses. Like an actress isn’t going to look like her A-game. We need to remind her. My favorite part was the parenthesis: ‘push up bras encouraged’”she added.

She talks about the careful construct of the female identity in mainstream Hollywood that women are now starting to realize is extremely restrictive creatively.

“When I did my first film, I was told by my agent that I would need to have long hair so men in this town would want to f— me and hire me. That was said to a 17 year old,” she shared.

“It is beware of riding in cars with strange boys. But only when society and your parents have bound and gagged you and taken away your defense mechanisms for danger. When you have been conditioned to be pleasant at all times and be polite, it can very often take away a girl’s ability to defend herself. ‘Something is not right in this situation. Ding, ding, ding, it must be me.’ That can lead down a really dark path,” she said, which subtly alludes to the way women are taught to take the blame.


Another actress not afraid to potentially bite the hand that feeds is Zoe Saldana. She recently made headlines because her husband, Italian artist Marco Perego, decided to take her last name instead of the other way round, as has been tradition for eons.

In a Facebook post expanding on their controversial decision, she says it is time to redefine masculinity in a new way. Clearly the narrowly defined roles of men and women aren’t conducive to her lifestyle, as she has more recently damned the way Hollywood treats male and female stars, saying there is an obvious double standard happening, even for A-list actresses like herself.

Speaking to USA Today to promote her film ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ (based on the real-life story of the film’s director Maya Forbes who had to look after a husband with a mental illness and also went on to become one of the first African American women to open her own hedge fund) co-starring feminist Mark Ruffalo, she said the way women are treated when they have babies, versus the way male stars are treated is appalling. The men get private jets, bodyguards, and a whole string of awesome perks, while women are made to feel like they are inconveniencing everyone else by choosing to have a family.

“A woman comes in going, ‘OK, I have a child. You’re taking me away from my home. You’re taking my children away from their home. And you’re going to make me work a lot more hours than I usually would if I was home. Therefore, I would have to pay for this nanny for more hours — so I kind of need that. And they go, ‘Nope, we don’t pay for nannies’,” she revealed.


She said it will never be the right time for everyone in your life when you choose to have a baby, and that some of the films she was working on when she was pregnant with her twins almost fired her.

“The productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding me? It’s this bad?’ Right when I just feel super-duper happy, is that inconvenient for you? That me, as a woman in my thirties, I finally am in love and I am finally starting my life? And it’s [screwing] your schedule up? Really?”

Zoe had to fight to have child care included in her deals which is a shame that even an actress responsible for bringing in billions of dollars at the domestic box office with films such as ‘Avatar’, ‘Star Trek ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ she still has to fight and claw her way to receiving equal treatment.

Damn Hollywood, you got some ‘splainin’ to do! While we are not sure whether these situations are the norm, the fact that it is the 21st century and women are STILL fighting for equal rights is shameful.

The only thing that is going to change the sexist situations from continually happening in Hollywood is having more women in positions of leadership who empathize with other women’s personal situation, as well as creating more career opportunities for them.

Bravo Rose, bravo Zoe. Keep on with your bad selves, empowering women to raise their voices about unfair situations.





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  1. Pingback: How California's New Robust Equal Pay Law Could Benefit Women In Hollywood - GirlTalkHQ

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