Whoa, Hollywood Is Sexist

by Alanna Greco

We’ve all heard about the sexism in Hollywood on screen and behind the camera — but do you know about the crap that aspiring actresses have to face just to get a chance to have one line in a film? After going on auditions where directors cared more about her figure than her talent, and reading too many breakdowns (aka character descriptions for a casting call) that sounded more like scandalous ads than roles, actress Katrina Day decided to start the Lady Parts Tumblr, which showcases sexist casting calls.

Lady Parts is a hilarious and depressing round-up of the worst female-seeking breakdowns that Day and her fellow actors could find. The Tumblr is full of demeaning casting calls that treat women as props or sexual scenery. My personal favorite is “Drunken Girl ‘Slapper’ at Party. Actress should have an ‘easy access’ skirt [in which to be] ‘taken from behind.’ Consent to have fake vomit thrown on her.” Now who could turn that down?

This content is meant to start a discussion and bring awareness to the systemic issue of how women are poorly treated in the entertainment industry. Lady Parts describes its MO as “calling bullshit, cultivating selectivity, and fostering discussion — because 'female, non-speaking' won't work for us.” Day also hopes that the Tumblr will bring a sense of solidarity amongst the female actress who might feel like they are facing this unfair sexism on their own. She told the Huffington Post, "This blog is my attempt to open up the discussion of that struggle among other female actors, so that we can all help each other be more thoughtful and rigorous about the ways in which we interact with the industry. Being selective about which roles we do and do not submit for is a way that we can advocate for ourselves in this industry."

When I interned at a boutique management company, I was also taken aback by how much emphasis was placed on the appearance of female characters in almost every breakdown I read. No matter how big or small the part, it was always important that the woman be pretty/hot/sexy/very attractive — but the same could not be said for the male roles.

So what’s a girl to do? Participating in the conversation and acknowledging that there is a problem in how women are cast is the first step. But, ultimately it's the elusive hollywood higher-ups who have the power to change the way that they approach casting. What we can do for now is make a ruckus about it, and make sure that they know that we are interested in seeing smart and funny women on screen — not bimbo #3, whose only defining characteristics are a "hot body" and "powerful eyebrows".

Images: Lady Parts/Tumblr