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She needs to learn to shut up, then I will consider liking her.

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She’s ungrateful, untalented.

A stupid girl who’s only in films and television series, because someone found her pleasant to look at. She slept her way to fame, while thinking that she’s better than everyone else. But she’s not. She’s on stage, a performer, but she’s also a fake, and you shouldn’t believe a word she says. She tries so hard to be likable, but it’s obvious she’s basic. She’s only in it for the money, and she’s entitled, spoiled and a bitch.

Sounds familiar?

This is how we speak about women in Hollywood.

Do we really hate women in Hollywood?

Quick! Think of female celebrities you hate. Got your list ready? Now I want you to think of the reasons why you hate, or strongly dislike these female celebrities. What have they done to acquire your resentment. Now do the same for male celebrities, and think of what they have done to earn your perception of them.

I must admit, I am 100% guilty of what I am trying to accuse all of you of. Kim Kardashian, Kristen Stewart, Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus (during her Bangerz era). All of them have somehow broken the rules for how we believe women should act. They shouldn’t dress provocatively, play on their sexuality or benefit from their beauty. Some of these women do use sex as a measure to gain fame, but should that give us a reason to hate them? Aren’t they just benefitting from a system who want them to be sexual, and then shame them when they conform to our desires? One could say that the Kardashians aren’t the most talented bunch, but somehow, they have marketed themselves into multi-millionaires. Kristen Stewart has also had an unproblematic career, yet she is one of Hollywood’s most hated actresses. Simply, because people find her annoying, and they didn’t like that she wasn’t super grateful for being the centre of attention. All these reasons can of course be valid reasons to dislike someone. The problem shows up when you look at the reasons why you dislike some male celebrities.

The first people that came to my mind was: Kanye West (far right political opinions, antisemitic remarks, his behaviour surrounding his divorce), Alec Baldwin (sexist and racist remarks) and Chris Brown (committed assault and accused of rape and sexual assault). As you can tell, the reasonings between the male and female celebrities are quite different. That is the point I’m trying to make. We hold men and women to different standards when it comes to our admiration and praise. We threaten, belittle, and despise women in Hollywood, for the same reasons that we praise their male counterpart.

 

The Rachel Zegler Controversy

Rachel Zegler was everywhere in the news a couple of months ago, and for what reason? She criticised a beloved fairytale and declared that she should be paid for her labour. If you’re not familiar with the situation, Rachel Zegler said exactly these words during an interview with Variety from 2022:

It’s no longer 1937. She’s not gonna be saved by the prince. She’s not dreaming of true love; she’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be”.

 During a SAG-AFTRA strike (actor’s union) at the end of 2022 she also said that:

“If I’m gonna stand there 18 hours in a dress of an iconic Disney princess, I deserve to be paid for every hour that it’s streamed online”.

Zegler’s been called every word in the book and has even received death threats. The first comment from this article, is one I randomly found while reading the comments from a post about her. She’s been called arrogant, ungrateful, and annoying.

Let’s look at what she said. The first statement is about what the new version of Snow White will be about. Do any of you guys believe that Rachel Zegler marched onto the set, and demanded that the new version should be more feminist? Do you think she decided how they should market the film? What I’m saying is that Rachel Zegler was 21 when she said what she said. That poor girl probably has a marketing team, who told her to say those things, and she’s been suffering for it ever since. Of course, the backlash also comes from the anti-woke movement, who resents the abandonment of traditional values, and the hyper fixation on being politically correct. Others, while understanding my previous point, still claim to hate her, as they perceive her as ungrateful for an opportunity, millions would have killed for. Criticising the original film, she angered many fans who did not wait a second to “cancel” her. On to her second statement, she is being called entitled for a statement I believe we can all agree on. People who work should be paid for their labour. Perhaps she phrased it poorly, but I’m willing to make a claim that if she was a man, she would not have received the same backlash. Don’t believe me?

In November of 2023 actor Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) criticised the film franchise “The Kissing Booth”, which he starred in a few years back. In an interview with USA Today he called the films ridiculous, and said he didn’t want to make the them. While he faced criticism from film reviewers, that called his statements pretentious, the public opinion was quite the opposite of the response Rachel Zegler received. Many praised him for being honest about his experience as an actor and agreed that he should be allowed to criticise his work. Others did of course call him ungrateful, but the response was nowhere near as dramatic as Zegler’s, and one can in no way claim he was cancelled. Actor Robert Pattison has also made fun of the Twilight franchise and was praised for it by the media. So why were they allowed to criticise the films they acted in, while Rachel Zegler was not?

It’s because it breaks our internalised view that women should be grateful, quiet, and most of all humble. By criticising a film, it’s almost as if an actor puts themselves above it, claiming that their work is superior to the quality of the film. Rachel Zegler, only 21 years old at the time, was probably deemed as a young naïve actress, while Elordi and Pattison were deemed rational and charming, for daring to be honest about their experiences. Of course, the fact that the casting of Rachel, a Latina woman for the role of Snow White, was already controversial in certain fan spaces, gave the critics even more reason to shame her. Rachel Zegler did everything she in the public eye should not have done. She voiced an opinion the people did not want to hear. Rachel Zegler was practically cancelled for making a critical comment, while there are people in Hollywood who’s thriving, while having violence and sexual assault accusations against them. Is that fair?

The Golden Globes versus Barbie

 “Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies. The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite and flat feet. Or what casting directors call character actor!”.

The Golden Globes proves just why one could say that we somehow hate women in Hollywood, by having jokes about the Barbie film be central to the award show’s comedy. Barbie is seen as many, as a film representing what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society. Thus, the golden globes’ jokes about the film received varied reactions. Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig sat there with an awkward smile on their faces, while actress and singer Selena Gomez, went viral for putting her face in her hands with second hand embarrassment. Joking about a film that was defining for women in 2023 is of course not forbidden, but most people can agree that the jokes at the Golden Globes were borderline sexist. The Barbenheimer phenomenon characterised the summer, and the rivalry led to both films performing extraordinary well. Undermining the achievements of Barbie because of the concept it is based on, strictly ignores the important message of the film. That whatever women do in today’s society, there will always be someone who claims you’re doing it wrong.

The same is clear when looking at the reactions to the cast and director’s reactions. The jokes made news outlets all round the world, but in the comments of these articles you found the same thing once again. People tore into the cast of Barbie’s reactions, judging them for every move. Even Greta Gerwig, who sat there with a polite smile on her face, received hate comments. They should be able to take a joke, people said.

A few months later when the Oscar nominations were announced, leaving Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig without individual nominations, the hate resurfaced. Many claimed they were both snubbed, including Ryan Gosling and America Ferrara, who both received a nomination for best supporting actor/actress. Most of the comments I read were about how the film wasn’t even that good, it was superficial, and that Ryan Gosling was the only good part (he did great of course). Although you can argue that the Oscar nominated many great actresses for main lead, one could say that the exclusion of Greta Gerwig, who directed the highest grossing film in 2023, might be a bit more controversial. However, the comments changed when Robbie and Gerwig both said they were just grateful to a part of the film and were happy for their co-stars’ nominations. Suddenly, people loved them both, even though they had hated on their performances a few weeks earlier. Why? Because they did what was expected. They were humble, they acknowledged other people, and they didn’t feel entitled to an award.

But I don’t hate women in Hollywood?

 This article is not a generalisation of everyone’s perception of women in Hollywood. It’s more of an attempt to discuss some of the hypocrisy many women in Hollywood face. Of course, the title of the article is a generalisation, mostly to attract attention. Sadly, I think many of us have internalised some of the perspectives highlighted in this article, from many years of experiencing hidden gender roles in society. I am guilty of many of the things I’m accusing others of. While we might not hate all women in Hollywood, we should all be cognizant of the bias we bring into our perception of other people. It’s easy to think of celebrities as merely the job they do, and forget that they are actual people with their own minds and feelings. So, if you felt guilty of some of the things from this article, fear not.

At least it’s not 1937 anymore.

 


Header image from Adobe Stock.

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