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We tend to think of the Hollywood types as a fairly progressive lot. Most are pretty active in politics and seem passionate about making the world a better place. There are plenty of Hollywood stalwarts who are devout conservationists like Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron who use their public personas to raise awareness for a range of noble causes. Yet, few in their right minds can deny that the infrastructure that supports them is rotten to the core. How else do you explain the years of inaction while the likes of Harvey Weinstein were allowed to subject women to unspeakable horrors? Even in the more quotidian of ways, Hollywood remains institutionally sexist. Body fascism is rife and there are still comparatively few female directors working in Hollywood today and of those far fewer get the awards recognition they deserve compared to their male counterparts. Natalie Portman made sure that we all remained mindful of this at this year’s Golden Globes a couple of days ago as she announced the “all male” nominees for Best Director.
In the spirit of Natalie’s polite yet powerful reminder of Hollywood’s endemic sexism, we here pay homage to the women in Hollywood who are out there setting a positive example for women and girls everywhere both for their sterling work onscreen and their brave efforts off screen to fight sexism and negative body image in Hollywood…
Anne Hathaway has endeared herself to millions ever since her breakout performance in The Princess Diaries and while her acting has gone from strength to strength, her grace and composure off screen have been equally impressive. When asked in a BBC Radio 5 interview how she managed to get so thin for her role in Les Miserables she politely stated that she would not share that information as she was an unhealthy weight for that film and she would not want young women out there to think that this was something to aspire to. Dr. John Toussaint would be proud. What a class act.
Jennifer Lawrence has spoken candidly about the body shaming that has plagued her career. Despite her healthy weight and appearance she has been repeatedly told that by Hollywood standards she was “obese”. Yet she has steadfastly refused to slim down for roles and insists that she “eats like a cavewoman”. Really?!? What wouldn’t we give for her metabolism?
Is there anything this woman can’t do? It seems that taking the world of music by storm isn’t enough for the astonishingly beautiful and talented Ms Monae. After garnering 6 Grammy nominations she turned to acting in 2016 and has now acted in Academy Award nominated films like Moonlight and Hidden Figures, both of which tell the story of grievously under represented minorities.
There’s no denying that Wonder Woman took the world by storm last summer. Now, men and women alike are clamoring for more movies featuring strong and empowered female characters. In the wake of this game changing movie about arguably one of pop culture’s greatest Hollywood icons, not only is it’s star Gal Gadot the highest grossing actress of 2017, Patty Jenkins is its highest paid director. Jenkins, whose first movie Monster had us clamoring for more for over a decade, looks set to blaze a trail for a whole generation of female directors, hungry for success and opportunity. We can’t wait!