It’s no secret that Jessica Chastain is a champion for women in the still painfully gender-skewed world of Hollywood. She’s an outspoken feminist who keeps the subject of women in film a part of the larger conversation. Changing the way women are portrayed and written about in Hollywood is a big step in changing the way women are perceived in society at large, and in her most recent interview for the cover article of Glamour, Chastain once again seizes the opportunity to discuss her feelings on how and why the opportunities for women in the industry need to improve.
Though Chastain regularly stars in features with strong, complicated women at the forefront, she understands that it is unfortunately not the norm.
I’m not saying, "We don’t want movies about men." I’m just saying, "Come on, all the men I know love women. So let’s also have some stories about these women. Let’s write something for them, guys — and let’s make room for women writers too."
She hits on an important point, that not only does Hollywood lack diverse roles for women, it also lacks having women actually write the stories that need to be told.
For this problem, I like to use the Tina Fey Bossypants approach to sexism in the workplace, “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss.”
Not only does Hollywood need more interesting roles, more writers, and more directors who are women, it needs more women who are the boss — women who are making the big decisions. Which is precisely why I think Jessica Chastain, the unofficial Spokesperson For What Needs to Change in Hollywood in Order for Women to Be Treated With Respect, should start her own production company.
It would be so invigorating to have an artist like Chastain, one who consistently chooses difficult stories to tell and challenging roles, to actually start making the movies and making the changes that need to be made.
In the Glamour interview, she comments on how sexism also folds into ageism and racism. "I love Meryl Streep. She’s such an incredible actress. But I feel like she’s the only one in her age group who gets those parts. I’d like to see Jessica Lange in a movie again, you know? Or Susan Sarandon. Why isn’t Viola Davis a lead in a film? She’s one of the greatest actresses alive. And where are the Asian actors and actresses?" One of those actresses who she points out, Viola Davis, is part of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby film series, which Chastain stars in and is her first feature Producer credit. She’s already making steps to change the way the current moves in the industry, I would just love to see it taken even further.
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