I feel like every day we hear something new about the state of sexism in Hollywood, and every day I get angry before getting super-effing-relieved that women are speaking out about it, and we’re finally taking the time to listen.
So, enter: Emma Watson, who spoke to The Guardian about her own experiences with this terrible industry we’re all obsessed with.
“I have been directed by male directors 17 times, and only twice by women,” she said. “Of the producers I’ve worked with, 13 have been male and only one has been a woman. But I am lucky: I have always insisted on being treated equally and have generally won that equality. Most of the problems I have encountered have been in the media, where I have been treated so incredibly differently from my male co-stars.”
And that’s the thing: Emma Watson has been very lucky (I mean, I wouldn’t say “being treated equally” is “luck,” but you know what I mean) in terms of being able to demand equality when a lot of other actors/directors/writers don’t have that privilege. The full Guardian piece actually consists of several interviews about sexism with female directors/producers/writers/actors, and each carry their own moment of, “Really?! WHY.” And of course, they’re not alone: Tumblrs like Shit People Say To Women Directors & Other Women In Film offer more than their fair share of The Absolute Worst, making us wonder how any women in the industry are surviving at all.
Watson continued her thoughts by reminding everyone that girl-on-girl crime (to quote Mean Girls, obviously) exists too, though.
“Women are just as guilty of discriminating against women,” she said. “Some of the best feminists I have encountered are men, like Steve Chbosky who directed me in Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and director James Ponsoldt who I am working with at the moment. Some women can be incredibly prejudiced against other women!”
Which, well, duh. It’s nice to believe feminism is about friendship in the Taylor Swift sense of the word, but that just isn’t true or realistic. While “we’re all in this together” is a lovely mantra to believe we’re all chanting at the same time, there’s a lot more to equality than that: on top of women — in general — being treated as less than, women of colour, trans women, queer women, and disabled women are being treated even worse. (Like, hi: one look at this year’s Oscar nominees and the magnitude of white privilege becomes quite evident.)
So how do we fix it? Well, more conversations like this, to start. More calling-out-sexism when you see it. More championing the women around you, while not making their victories about you. (Or your mistakes/failures/etc. about them.) And listening. I know this sounds like Problem Solving 1-0-1, but until we take time to pause and listen to the experiences of the women around us — whether in Hollywood or at your actual place of employment — we’re dismissing what they’ve seen and gone through.
So here’s to more women like Emma Watson speaking up, as well as every other women who has the guts to do the same. Here’s to the landscape changing that we don’t have to have conversations like this anymore . . . like, within our lifetimes.