Jul 11, 2019 in Society

Essay on Gender Inequality

Gender Inequality and How it Applies in Hollywood

There is a tendency to think that stars and celebrities have an easy life, but the truth is that many female movie stars are subject to the same levels of gender inequality as their ordinary or less famous female counterparts. Hollywood is a place where sexism is alive and thriving. In 2015, various studies gave reason to believe that only a few movies are based on female protagonists, and an even smaller number are produced and/or directed by women. Virtually every area of the movie industry has an astonishingly small percent of female players. Additionally, a high percentage of female stars or actors are not paid as much as their male counterparts. An increasing number of Hollywood women are now speaking publicly about the fact that gender inequality is prevalent in their industry.     In fact, the actress Jennifer Lawrence has been more vocal than most on the subject of gender inequality. The 2014 hacking of Sony revealed that Lawrence had been paid considerably less than her male co-star for his part had in ‘American Hustle.’ Yet, this was despite the fact that her role in the “Hunger Games” franchise had made her a huge draw to the box office, bigger than many male actors. Needless to say, Lawrence was unhappy and she published an article in October of 2015 discussing the wage discrepancies between the genders in Hollywood. She conceded in her essay that she is not quite strapped for cash with two blockbuster film franchises behind her, but she did point out the wage issue is not personally about her, but that women all over the world are not being paid as much for the same jobs as men. If, after all, 2014’s highest earning star is being paid over two-thirds less than a male colleague (Robert Downey Junior), what hope is there for an ordinary woman in mainstream employment? Lawrence accepts some of the blame herself because she says she “failed” to negotiate better terms. She attributes this “failure” to being worried she might be seen as spoiled or difficult as happens with many female stars in Hollywood if they speak out about these matters. 

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At present, money and earnings are not the only gender-related inequality being talked about in Hollywood. The issue of age and how women and men receive very different treatment in this regard was recently highlighted by Maggie Gyllenhal. She told of being turned down for a role because she was considered much too old at 37 to be portrayed as the love interest of a 55-year old male star!  According to Gyllenhaal, initial sadness turned to anger. Another actress - Anne Hathaway - says that this is something she too is experiencing because she believes women over 25 are a real problem for Hollywood. Hathaway, who is 32, says that roles appropriate to her age are being given to younger colleague, even though she confesses to having found this an advantage herself at a younger age. The gender inequality question is not only making female stars feel uncomfortable. Another actor recently addressed sexism-related questions aimed at Scarlett Johansson, his co-star in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ He also said publicly that he thought there should be more merchandise – action figures and the like – based on Johansson’s Black Widow character. Additionally, Bradley Cooper who co-starred in American Hustle with Jennifer Lawrence and the male who directed the movie supported the essay published by Lawrence after the Sony leaks.   To conclude, it seems obvious that Hollywood is no different to other places when it comes to the issue of gender inequality. An increasing number of female as well as male movie stars are, however, now speaking publicly about the issue. It is hoped their lead will encourage women in ordinary walks of life to speak up too so that the issue will be eliminated altogether one day.    

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