Have you noticed women turning into men? I’m speaking about the silver screen.
Emma Thompson has, and she’s none too amused.
Guesting on the CultureBlast podcast, the star of films such as Much Ado About Nothing, Nanny McPhee, and Saving Mr. Banks posed a potent question: Why are movies making girls be like guys?
Emma’s clearly not impressed with Hollywood’s handling of women in general.
As noted by The Daily Wire, the actress lamented the plight of female thespians 50+ years of age.
The interviewer prompted, “Going back to some of the roles that were offered to you, I remember you saying [it] somewhere that after Nanny McPhee, you were getting these roles, like, to play Bradley Cooper’s mother, and also to play Mother Theresa. Playing Mother Theresa would’ve put a tin lid on your career. I mean…you’re a woman in your 50s, and you are asked to play a woman, I guess she was in her 80s when we lost her. What does that say about the misogyny and the ageism?”
Thompson machine-gunned the industry:
“It says exactly what it says: You get past 50, and you’re invisible. But you know, it’s very interesting. This woman I’m about to play, one of the things that she says to this young man — he says, ‘You’re perfectly [attractive], why can’t you find another chap?’ [And she says], ‘Because the only people willing to sleep with me are people my age, and I don’t want to sleep with — I want to sleep with someone younger than me.’”
She drew a contrast with a Tinseltown legend who cuts his hair with the venerable Flowbee:
“Now, I’ve never heard a woman say that on-screen. It’s completely acceptable for George Clooney — who is delightful, as you say — to have someone who’s 40 years younger than him or 30 years younger than him. If I have someone playing opposite me in a romantic way, they’d have to exhume someone, because I’m 61 now. Do you see what I mean? It’s completely and utterly unbalanced. And that’s gonna take a long time.”
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) November 29, 2020
But more profoundly in the realm of sexual politics, the Academy Award-winner wants to know: What’s with writing women as if they’re men?
“So all the women screenwriters I talk to, I say, ‘Well, what’s the story?’ Because it’s not good enough simply to give the women the guns, and then make the women bada**, as well. Now women have to be bada** — if they’re feminine in the way that they used to be, and they’re not bada**, then they’re not welcome. Also, they’re not allowed to cry, apparently, anymore, because we’ve just got to be like the men.”
Personally, it’s something I’ve wondered for a while: The present pitch appears to be that a strong woman is like a man, and that’s feminist. But, it seems to me, nothing could be more anti-woman than to suggest the value of a female is the degree to which she can measure up to the standard of a male.
Emma seems to agree.
“And I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s not what we meant.’ When I got a group of women together in my thirties, and I said, ‘Okay, what’s the female heroine? Who is that? What does she do?’ Because she hasn’t got the wherewithal to do the Superman, to do the Godfather, that’s not the point. That’s not where our heroism lies. So how do we make it heroic?”
It raises, in my view, another question: In most cases where 90-pound actresses are being physically strong these days, they’re beating up 200-pound men in physics-defying acts of violence.
That’s fine, and the laws of physics often take a hiatus in Hollywood. But when women are superior in so many actual ways in the real world, why not show those onscreen, too?
“Why are there no films about giving birth, for crying out loud?. Does anyone even know about that? No. No. It’s all hidden. All our heroism is hidden, because what we’ve done is we’ve just given women the same parts as men, and that’s not the point. How do we turn into our own lives and make those stories heroic?”
Well, Emma, there is one film about giving birth.
In fact, you’re in it.
But…well…sorry, ladies. Better luck next time:
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