14 Famous Women Fighting For Female Representation in Hollywood

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14 Famous Women Fighting For Female Representation in Hollywood

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14 Famous Women Fighting For Female Representation in Hollywood

Women bring millions of viewers to TV networks and billions of dollars to the box office… so why don’t they get equal pay, equal say, and equal billing?

We’re gradually getting more female representation in Hollywood these days, but gender equality is still a long way off.

Here’s what 14 famous women are saying and doing to close the gap.

14 Famous Women Fighting For Female Representation in Hollywood
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1. Natalie Portman

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1. Natalie Portman

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“I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible,” Black Swan star Natalie Portman told Elle UK in 2013.

“The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist; that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.”

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2. Laverne Cox

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2. Laverne Cox

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“I’ve said loving transgender people is revolutionary, but I think loving women — really loving women, is revolutionary too, in a social context that is deeply misogynistic, deeply does not celebrate women,” Orange Is the New Black breakout Laverne Cox told Elle in 2014.

“And we have pockets of that, we do have places where we celebrate women a lot, but I think the way the culture is aligned and structured is misogynistic. It just is.”

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3. Olivia Wilde

3. Olivia Wilde

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“It’s really hard to get stories made that are about women — not just women being obsessed with men or supporting men,” Vinyl star Olivia Wilde said at a 2014 #GRITtv panel called The State of Female Justice.

“And it’s really hard to get men to be a part of films that are about women in a leading role. I’m really interested in how we can adjust that, considering that it’s all just based on demand.”

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4. Emma Thompson

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4. Emma Thompson

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“For women a lot of the time, the only power that they do have in their roles on screen is the sexual power,” Harry Potter star Emma Thompson said on BBC Radio 4 in 2014.

“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.”

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5. Kathryn Bigelow

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5. Kathryn Bigelow

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“I have always firmly believed that every director should be judged solely by their work, and not by their work based on their gender,” Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, told TIME in 2015.

“Hollywood is supposedly a community of forward-thinking and progressive people, yet this horrific situation for women directors persists. Gender discrimination stigmatizes our entire industry. Change is essential. Gender neutral hiring is essential.”

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6. Jessica Chastain

6. Jessica Chastain

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“We need more diversity. We’re not telling the stories of many, we’re telling the stories of few,” Miss Sloane actress Jessica Chastain told HuffPost Live in 2015.

“There's a problem with the storytelling, with the protagonists...it’s in front of the camera, it's behind the camera … This is not how we want to be working and we need to tell the stories of all.”

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7. Meryl Streep

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7. Meryl Streep

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In 2015, after funding a writing lab for female screenwriters over the age of 40, Meryl Streep told The New York Times why it’s important to cultivate female perspectives.

‘‘It’s harder for men to imagine themselves as the girl in the movies than it is for me to imagine myself as Daniel Craig bringing down the building,” she said.

‘‘Boys are never encouraged to imagine what it is like to be female. The reason I know this is because when I made The Devil Wears Prada, it was the very first time men came to me after the film and said, ‘I know how you felt.’”

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8. Dee Rees

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8. Dee Rees

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‘‘I look at Woody Allen’s prolific career of 30 or 40 films, and I’m watching the clock,’’ Bessie writer-director Dee Rees told the New York Times.

“I’d love to work at a clip of a film a year. We don’t get the benefit of the doubt, particularly black women. We’re presumed incompetent, whereas a white male is assumed competent until proven otherwise.

“For buzzy first films by a white male, the trajectory is a 90-degree angle. For us, it’s a 30-degree angle.’’

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9. Geena Davis

9. Geena Davis

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For the past decade, Geena Davis has been studying and reporting on the quantity and quality of female representation on screen as the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

“I had the impetus from watching preschool-age TV shows with my daughter, before my twin boys were born, and [I] realized there were so few female characters,” the Oscar winner told Vulture in 2016. “What the heck was this? How haven’t we fixed this?”

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10. Shonda Rhimes

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10. Shonda Rhimes

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At a 2016 Vulture Festival discussion, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes revealed she always gets asked how she creates smart, strong women.

“I’m like, ‘Is the alternative weak, stupid women?’” she said.

“It’s not a goal [to create them]. They’re just people. Women are strong. I literally don’t understand the question when I’m asked.

“I don’t know how to write people other than being the people that they are, like the women that I know. So, it’s not a goal. It’s just reality.”

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11. Ava DuVernay

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11. Ava DuVernay

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For the first season of the OWN drama Queen Sugar, creator Ava DuVernay — who also directed the biopic Selma and the documentary 13th — hired only women to direct the episodes.

“They all killed it and they’re working now,” she told The Washington Post in 2016. “Not just working — but in demand.”

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12. Danielle Brooks

12. Danielle Brooks

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"Our definition of female and male is starting to shift,” Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks told The Hollywood Reporter in February.

“I hope in the months to come that we really expand the definition of what it is to be female because there are a lot of people out there who identify in different ways.

“If we hit on some of that as well, it could be really cool storytelling and a lot of people will feel like they see themselves in even more characters.”

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13. Michelle Rodriguez

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13. Michelle Rodriguez

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In a June Instagram post, Fast and Furious veteran Michelle Rodriguez said she might bow out of the ninth installment unless women get better screentime.

F8 is out digitally today,” she wrote. “I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise.”

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14. Gillian Anderson

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14. Gillian Anderson

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In June, after the The Washington Post tweeted to say that the writers of The X-Files Season 11 are all men, star Gillian Anderson chimed in to note that women had directed less than 1 percent of the series’s episodes. (And this after she had to fight for pay equal to that of co-star David Duchovny in Season 10.)

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Women bring millions of viewers to TV networks and billions of dollars to the box office… so why don’t they get equal pay, equal say, and equal billing?

We’re gradually getting more female representation in Hollywood these days, but gender equality is still a long way off.

Here’s what 14 famous women are saying and doing to close the gap.