Most commonly recognized for her roles in films such as ‘Rush’ and ‘Drinking Buddies’ as well as for her six-year run as Dr. Thirteen on the TV series ‘House M.D.,’ Olivia Wilde recently decided to call out sexism in Hollywood. While sitting on the State of Female Justice panel, Olivia openly addressed Hollywood’s overwhelming tendency to produce films with male leads, the difficulties in getting a film with a female lead financed, and even shares an interesting story of role reversal. Check it out…
As Olivia mentions at the beginning of her speech, the primary job of filmmakers and Hollywood -being the world’s capital for film -is to be storytellers, a medium for sharing the incredible and imaginative stories of everyone and everything on the planet. Yet so much of what we regularly see produced out of the Hollywood machine is the same general story over and over again, a story that is driven by men, is sexist towards women, and does very little, if anything, to empower us as a human race. Many of us are well aware of this, but it’s a point that Olivia makes a little later in her speech that really stood out for me,
…it’s all based on the demand. Movies are made based on what people are asking for, magazines are sold based on what they think people are asking for, so really the power is in our hands. And it’s really just a matter of asking for it much louder.
This point for me, really stood out as a great reminder of the power that we as individuals and even more so as a collective have when it comes to creating change on the planet. It’s easy to point fingers at the “elite” or those at the top of every industry, but it’s much more proactive and influential to instead look within. To realize that as long as we keep supporting and demanding these films, the more the incentive is for them to keep on producing them.
Being heavily engrained in the independent movie realm with my work as an actor, I can say that in Toronto alone there are a number of independent projects that readily shatter the Hollywood standard of storytelling. I’m sure that the same can be said for pretty well every city in the world and it’s up to us to support these films and show the Hollywood beast that we are looking to move beyond the sexism, the racism, and the overall stereotype that is 99% of blockbuster films. It’s not to say that we need to completely stop seeing mainstream films, it’s that we need to make our collective voice heard loud enough that mainstream films are forced to expand beyond their current boundaries in order to satisfy the viewing public.
I truly believe that creating a shift within the mainstream entertainment and media realm would be a monumental stride for the world to take towards how we look, value and treat one another. As Olivia reminds us,
…these are things that have to change in order for the media to be a positive force for people all around the world, because it is incredible the reach of the media.
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