Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Garner, Viola Davis, Julie Walters, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Chastain, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ellen Page have all spoken out about the lack of female roles in Hollywood and their personal experiences with sexism in the industry, but what matters is that Russell Crowe isn’t buying it. In a new interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Crowe—who perhaps doesn’t understand the intended audience of a women’s magazine—had this to say about the challenges of being a woman in Hollywood:
“The best thing about the industry I’m in–movies–is that there are roles for people in all different stages of life. To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that [the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21-year-old. Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that’s bullshit, so will Helen Mirren, or whoever it happens to be. If you are willing to live in your own skin, you can work as an actor. If you are trying to pretend that you’re still the young buck when you’re my age, it just doesn’t work.”
Indeed, it is true that Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren are successful actresses over 60. Here are some other facts about Hollywood:
- The top earning male stars of 2013 were in their 40s and 50s while the top earning female stars were in their 20s and 30s. Of the 10 biggest star salaries, not one went to a woman.
- Of the top 100 films of 2013, women made up 15 percent of protagonists, 29 percent of major characters, and 30 percent of all speaking characters. The majority of female characters were in their 20s and 30s, while the majority of male characters were in their 30s and 40s.
- As leading men age, their love interests stay the same age.
- At the Oscars, the most common Best Actor-winning roles for men are historical figures. The most common Best Actress-winning roles for women are wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, or girlfriends.
- At the 85th Academy Awards, Oscar-nominated male leads averaged 100 minutes of screen time, while female leads averaged only 49 minutes.
- In a 2008 interview, Meryl Streep recalled getting called an “ugly pig” during an audition.
- In a BBC Radio interview, Emma Thompson had this to say about roles for older women: “For women a lot of the time, the only power that they do have in their roles on screen is the sexual power…. So when that sexuality becomes older, and therefore a great deal more threatening, the roles dry up, because women don’t have access to the kinds of power that create the kind of story that people are writing about. The roles of women in life—in political life, business life, everything—are absolutely mirrored by what we see in cinema.”
Streep’s 10,000 examples and arguments about how sexism does not exist in the movie industry are still forthcoming.