Celebrities Speaking up about Sexism

ellen page

Last night I came across an interesting article in Huffingtonpost about Hollywood celebs speaking about sexism in the movies world.

How actresses are treated backstage is a clear reflection of a pervasive discrimination towards women/girls in the media. I think it is indeed positive to see that celebrities are starting to speak up candidly about these issues: after all, they are seen by many – young and old, men and women and everything in between – as role models to look up to, so their words and experiences can really sparkle a lively debate around gender equality not only in the media, but backstage, during the planning and production of a media product.

I think pictures can move around the web much faster than articles, so I decided to make an inspiring visual slide from this article to hopefully spread awareness. Ellen’s testimonial should encourage other actresses and celebs to speak up and their words can be amplified through social media, reaching more and more people.

You can read the article in its entirety by clicking the link below:



26 thoughts on “Celebrities Speaking up about Sexism

  1. I think it’s interesting to note that some celebrities can be great champions against sexism, while others perpetuate it at the same time. In the current culture, I’ve noticed more of the latter. So, it’s good to know that maybe the scales are starting to weigh more in our favor.

  2. Wow! That is inspiring. It’s so great when celebrities use their public power to work to make positive changes in the world. I think Ellen Page is also one who doesn’t endorse an overly sexualized version of womanhood, which is refreshing.

  3. I have worked in the movie business as part of a costume department in London. Yes, sexism is rampant and unacknowledged. Men go further, faster in their careers in the film industry than girls. But, I don’t blame the men for this quiet sexism… I blame the women. It is women who stop other women from climbing ladders and achieving their career goals. Men go further because they are unhindered by women. Women get stopped and pushed down because they are seen as a threat by other women who are higher up the food chain, who also seem to be older! If you are young, like me, and you want to work in the film industry you have to accept that you may have a job one week and be jobless the next, because of an older woman who sees you as a threat to their position. Why can’t we all work together? Why It’s the way the industry works and I applaud the female celebrities who want to fight this issue… but they should look to the women further down the pecking order, than trying to change peoples views about themselves. I was a costume trainee for a year and I loved it – but it was hell!

    • I blame both but yes, I see what you mean Rebecca and I have to agree with you. I am totally fed up of living in a world where we see women pulling other women to pieces over careers. I hate that it is treated like a right of passage also. It is not and never will be acceptable and it needs to be stopped.
      I do feel we should hear from the men also as I bet anything this goes both ways. It’s about power first and foremost and plenty of powerful women can act in a sexist manner to young and new males.

  4. As Rebecca W. said, the entertainment industry is a male-dominated one, and women who have taken a more prominent role among their male peers, have been told that it doesn’t matter your accomplishments, your performance or your contributions; this is a man’s world, and you need to either shut up or ship out.

    Unfortunately, in response to the entertainment industries public shaming of actresses and female colleagues, outsiders and men publicly shame and further subject those who speak out to even further public shaming on social media outlets and in print.

  5. Good for them all for speaking up about their experiences! I applauded Zoe Saldana’s comments in particular because of the roles she refuses to take and not contradicting herself or being a hypocrite. There is sexism everywhere, still, not just in Hollywood, and it’s always great to see women speaking out about it.

  6. Hey everyone, I’m Dave, 24 from Michigan and I know I’m a fish out of water here, but I like talking about interesting topics like this. Anyways, I don’t get why women are treated in such a way like this. Do men get photo shopped like crazy in magazines? Do men have to weigh a certain amount to get most film roles? Not really. I think it’s great that women are starting to speak out.

    Ellen Page is a talented actor, who shouldn’t have to look a certain way to get a film role. I can understand if it’s a biopic or something where she has to look the part, but I don’t think most other movies need to follow that route. Ellen Page is beautiful no matter what. She doesn’t need a ton of makeup and she doesn’t need to be photo-shopped. The same goes for every other woman out there.

    There will be sexism forever, but hopefully it starts to level down a bit, because it’s pathetic how women are treated these days. More women need to speak out though, once more do so, more women will join in.

    • David, it is because attractive people sell more magazines, movie tickets, etc. Do you blame the movie and magazine companies for wanting women who men find attractive? I am a woman and I do not blame them. They are running a business. You are free to start a magazine for overweight women. I bet you have more trouble selling subscriptions than Playboy does. You can not expect companies to do things that make them less money.
      Also, I believe fit men get more movie roles than overweight men do. Just like fit women are better off. There are successful overweight actors like Jack Black and Jonah Hill but there are also successful overweight actresses/personalities like Melissa McCarthy, Oprah, Rosie O’Donnell and Roseanne Barr.

  7. Ellen Page is awesome! Also, I think it’s excellent that a younger lady is speaking out since normally we only hear this kind of sentiment from slightly older ladies – it is important for the younger generation to have a spokesperson who they can relate too. I think in Hollywood women are scared to speak up because they will lose out on work – yet when a man speaks his mind he is almost exalted for being more ‘manly’ or macho.

  8. As sad as it is, I think ultimately magazines give readers what sells and whatever they think is going to draw more readers in for their magazine. Imagine your favorite actress will be featured on the front cover of ELLE or VOGUE. The first thing most of us think is what she’ll wear, how will her makeup look, what tricks she uses to get so fit, etc and only a few will be eager to read the interview and see what “smart” things she has to say about the world or what obstacles she had to overcome in order to get to where she is today.

    It’s not surprise then if the interview itself will be filled with questions like “How do you maintain your figure?”, “how long did it took you to lose the baby weight?”, “what are your best kept beauty secrets?”, all questions that focus on the beauty-exterior aspect rather than the woman as a whole.

  9. Mindy Kaling’s answers sum the whole situation, not only in Hollywood, but all over the world. Women are portrayed as being fragile, sensible, and beauty-obsessed while men are the ones having “fun”, doing all sorts of dangerous activities and providing for their families. You never see male actors being asked how hard was for them having 10 pounds more or being bald! Sadly, she’s being asked all those stupid questions regarding her weight, skin color, and race just because magazines think that this way they’re helping women that are in the same situation. Unfortunately they make things worse by doing so because they perpetuate the ideas that you MUST have problems fitting in if you’re different.

  10. I’m so proud of Ellen for speaking up on the issue of sexism in the entertainment industry. I wish more women and men would call out those who indulge this behavior and commit to changing the industry culture to something more inclusive.

  11. Until women stop attacking other women in careers, we will not be able to stop men. That being said, sexism goes both ways and I have heard that young guys can be treated unfairly by those Celebrity females that have already made it (maybe payback!). It is always nice to see someone that could otherwise keep quiet, stand up for others and inform people of what is really happening.

  12. Love the presentation link you posted. I’m loving the fact that celebrities are finally using their power to express their opinions about sexism. A lot of people like to live in the dark about this issue; pretending like it doesn’t happen. It happens all the time! Not only backstage of a movie set, but in the real world as well. Women are treated differently, especially when there is a male boss involved.

    Most women tend to let it go when It’s happening to them. Either they brush it off as a joke, or just don’t want to lose their jobs in this economy. It’s not fair and shouldn’t be happening. Also, people do need to be aware of the situation in order to bring upon positive change. There can be no change if the public isn’t made aware of what really goes on.

    I feel very badly for a lot of these female celebrities. They get abused in a way, and treated disgracefully behind the scenes. It shouldn’t be happening to any woman, and I’m so glad to see them finally speaking up.

  13. I am glad to see that these celebrities are speaking out and letting people know how they feel about this industry. I don’t think it’s any secret that women have played a lesser role in so many shows and movies than their male counterparts for a long time. Long ago females were not even allowed to act at all. Men dressed as women on stage and played their part instead.

    I totally love a good movie or show with a strong female leading role or those that put multiple strong women in the spotlight. These are some of my favorite kinds of movies because they can really make any woman feel stronger, more empowered and inspired to be anything that they want to be. It shows that it is okay for women to feel important like they can take on the world and be proud of their tenacity by overcoming obstacles and coming out on top.

    I have been in a lot of videos for social media projects and there are lots of critics out there that will pick out every last flaw that you have and be sure to point it out to the public in a very rude and demeaning way if they see any imperfection whatsoever. If you don’t fit the exact picture in their mind of being an amazing perfect superwoman they will tear you down to try and make themselves feel better. It can be tough or upsetting at times but you have to learn to just brush it off and keep moving forward. There are others out there that like what you are doing and that will be glad to continue watching and learning from you. It’s impossible to please everybody.

  14. I find this interesting, and I’m glad that actresses are speaking out about this topic. But what I want to know is what they, as women of power, are doing to stop this. Are they refusing the roles that are objectifying, or belittling women? Are they willing to miss out on a movie op because of what they believe? Unfortunately, I’m not seeing much of that. Though I could be a little skewed since there are no lists that show what an actress declines and what is accepted. It would be a nice thing to see.

    • Celebrities are speaking up more about their experiences and their believes and you are spot on AJ Best! What are they doing about it!! Are they refusing roles? I think I read where one actress did refuse a role (sorry I can’t remember her name) but that is the only actress that I have heard of that has refused a role due to the fact it was against all her believes.

  15. I think it’s great that celebrities are starting to use their voices like this. They make such huge impact. More women need to speak out like this and not be quiet about these issues. I think a lot of girls are scared that they aren’t going to be :liked” if they have a voice or an opinion but to me it makes someone more appealing if they are true to who they are.

  16. Sexism is just as bad today as it was over 100 years ago and people are just too afraid to believe it! Forget the fact that celebrities are speaking up against it, this is something that everyone, everywhere should be taking a stand against. If not for ourselves, at least for our children and the world that they live in.

  17. I love the comment that Cate Blanchett made on the red carpet: “Do you do this to guys?” It reminds me of other ways that women are treated around awards season. Most especially, and perhaps most well-known, is the whole “who are you wearing?” line of questioning.

    As a woman, I love dresses/getting dressed up/watching the red carpet, but I’m not at all interested in hearing about what designer is dressing what star. Yes I love to look at the dresses, but that’s not the focal point. And yes, I have heard that question delivered to men before, but absolutely nowhere near as much as women. It’s a shame that women, many of them up for awards based on their talent, are subjected to such superficial questions.

    And more recently there’s been a new addition to this superficial treatment that I’ve seen on one red carpet broadcast, though I forget which channel it was specifically: the “mani-cam” where women can show off their nails. Really? I understand that awards shows are glamorous, and as a 25 year old woman I do quite enjoy watching them, but it gets a bit ridiculous to me – not so much because such an emphasis is put on outward appearances, but because it’s put primarily on the women’s appearances.

  18. When celebrities start talking openly about sexism in the film business or any other main business, you know that more and more people will get to hear their voices and what they have to say about it. More and more people will realize that sexism is a reality and not just an idea. And, when we get to realize that, we will also realize that, if sexism happens to such powerful and smart and recognizable women, the level of sexism that a normal woman receives in her job, must be colossal!
    So, in my opinion, bringing the subject to the public, is the best way to find a solution!

  19. I love the idea of Geena Davis, especially the one about writing empowered, competent female lead roles.

    I am amazed that Hollywood had not embraced this opportunity. We see the male lead rescue his female counterpart in the movies a lot. This happens even when the female character is built up as an intelligent, competent, positive role model during the film. The most recent example I can think of is Iron Man 3. Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is portrayed as a clever, empowered woman, yet when the enemy shows up, she is not up for the task, she can not deal with the situation, only Iron Man can save her. Given how less and less spectators show up to the cinema as a result of Hollywood using old cliches, I am amazed that they have not embraced this idea yet. On the other hand there are some great female role models on television. The one that jumps to mind is Melissa McBride’s character in The Walking Dead, who is an active part of the storyline, and much more than a simple female presence on the show.

  20. Within the actual movies, I feel like the worst thing is the fact that with all of these super hero movies we’re getting not one has a strong, independent female super hero that isn’t overly sexualized.. It’s like the movie executives are afraid that their primary audience (mostly men) won’t see a movie with a strong female lead because it intimidates them. This should be changed.

  21. Great post! Celebrities are usually role models, whether they intend to be or not, and it’s important that they speak up about topics such as sexism. They’re always in the public eye, and if they can use that fame to bring attention to sexism, why not?

    Girls and even boys seeing people they admire talk about equality for women is essential to the feminism movement. For example, when I was young, I adored the Disney Channel show “That’s So Raven”. In one episode, the main character Raven was told she couldn’t wear her designs at a fashion show due to her weight, to which she replied with a mini-speech about how all girls are beautiful even if they don’t look how they are supposed to look. As a chubby kid, this made me happy to see that my weight was okay, whatever it was.

    People in powerful roles need to speak up about topics such as this, regardless of it’s potential controversy.

  22. Gender discrimination will always be around. I don’t think there should be, but the reasons to go back in subject are endless. I’ve read the article from the Huffington post about how celebrities reacts to sexism. Even them are not spared by this. It makes you wonder if this is art of human nature or it just happens so that it’s just that the media sparks it up.

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