Tatiana Maslany is the kind of rare actress who could convince you to let your future daughter go into acting. She has chosen her roles wisely and, despite her young age (she's just 29), has a resume packed with impressive credits that include everything from playing the Virgin Mary in The Nativity (a TV mini-series) to inhabiting the bodies of no fewer than five kick-ass clones in Orphan Black . But even Tatiana Maslany is no stranger to Hollywood sexism — the kind you probably thought only existed in bad '70s soft-core porno films. In an interview with People, she revealed that she has been a victim of the sort of blatant and disgusting behavior on set that would make her Orphan Black character Sarah Manning's head spin.
Here's what Maslany had to say about the female experience in La La Land:
I don't think that any woman in this industry hasn't [experienced sexism] — I think we all have in various ways, and sometimes you can't even tell that it's happening because it's so ingrained in the way things are structured. Seventy or 80 percent of the people on set are male — directors, writers, producers, people in positions of power, but that's shifting too.
After admitting that she "can't even name the number of times" she has, personally, experienced sexism, she went on explain some of the experiences she had as a young actress:
Like being told, "Let's not talk about that, sweetheart," if I have an issue with being hit on by a 50-year-old when I was 17 and on set. It's never ending. Being put into this little outfit that showed my midriff in a scene where I'm supposed to be grieving the death of a family member, and it's like, "Make sure that her belly button is showing" — it's just pathetic. It's so pathetic.
Bravo to the star for being upfront and honest about her experiences, something she can afford to do now that she has proven her talent. Maslany was recently nominated for her first Emmy Award, something that should have happened years ago, but I'll save that rant for another day.
I'm proud of her for speaking up for the many, many young actresses who are probably scared to death to say something on set because they are still desperate for their big break and aren't willing to burn bridges in order to stick up for themselves. I don't fault them for that, but I do feel it's the duty of female stars who have made it to force these conversations to happen.
Maslany is also proof that the popular misconception that only certain kinds of actresses (i.e. the ones who play bimbo parts or are always the pretty girlfriend of so-and-so actor) are the only ones who are forced to deal with this kind of misogyny. You know, almost like they deserve it (gag). Yes, Maslany is gorgeous, but she's regularly cast in serious and fierce roles — yet, even she is forced to deal with this nonsense. No woman seems safe from it.
The good news? She says she sees a "big shift happening" and that too many people are speaking up about sexism for this to continue much longer. While she still laments the fact that she sometimes has to shave her armpits and wax her mustache to make producers happy (something she says she's only willing to do if the role calls for it), her bravery in speaking her truth about Hollywood sexism is a giant leap in the right direction.