Zoe Saldana Speaks Up About Entertainment Industry Sexism & It's An Important First Step To Making Change
Though everyone is quite aware at this point that sexism runs rampant in the entertainment industry, it's still even more shocking and surprising when it actually does happen to you. In her cover story for the July 2016 issue of Allure, Zoe Saldana discussed a range of issues very candidly, including motherhood ("There is sh*t on the boy; there is sh*t on me; there is sh*t in my hair. And I'm like, How did this happen?") and the sexism she has seen in the workplace. And again, though we are all aware of sexism that has constantly pervaded the entertainment world, included Saldana, she still is shocked by the sexism she has been forced to deal with in the industry.
There are two issues the Star Trek actor discussed with Allure that speak to the struggles she has had to face as a woman in the industry. The first is that she had once to fight for a studio she was working with to provide childcare though she was working 15-hour days. Though some stars request helicopters, she asked for childcare the studio proceeded to make her feel like she was having a "diva fit," as she puts it. As Saldana sees it, this shouldn't even have been negotiable. "No. This is a necessity that you must cover for me in order for me to go and perform my job," she explained to Allure.
The second was when she claimed, years ago, a producer took time out of his vacation to call her and say, "I hired you to look good in your underwear holding a gun." Of this instance, the star by her own right admitted to being surprised. She told Allure,
"I was told walking into this project that they really wanted me for the part, and that any input or ideas I had to please share them. That's what I was doing, and this producer was so bothered by the fact that he had to disrupt his vacation to call me and tell me to stop being a difficult b*tch. I thought, Wow, it's real. It really happens."Wow, it's real. It really happens."
One can assume that she knew women are not often treated equally to their male counterparts in the biz,— she doesn't live under a rock and it is her industry — and yet, it was still a rude awakening, because no one expects to actually be judged based on their gender; they expect to be judged on their skills. The fact that she thought "Wow, it's real" is so interesting, because of course she'd heard about that sort of industry sexism, but didn't realize it would happen to her and so intensely.
But Saldana isn't just saying there is a problem. She also spoke about how its time for women to come together to actually fix that problem. She got emotional in Allure and said,
"That love and support from the network of women around you, it made me really... I get emotional because if we continue to do that, we will be unstoppable. As opposed to nitpicking at each other for arbitrary things such as weight and hair color and purses. It's such f*cking minutiae when there are bigger issues that we have to be talking about, like equal pay and equal rights."
She is less concerned with the disbelief and more concerned with the solution — which can only be reached by unity.
Saldana, and other stars like her, being open about the sexism they experience in the work place is important to making change. Only if we first announce the issues and make our voices heard can we all come together — regardless of race or socioeconomic class or occupation — and garner equality for all women. Keep up the good work, Zoe!