We write a great deal about gender disparity in daily life, in the broader world or Hollywood. Some roll their eyes at the Hollywood coverage, as if these women don’t deserve to be bothered by the fact that their male co-stars get paid much, much more to do the same job. Just because you happen to be a recognisable working actress doesn’t mean you should be criticised for using your public platform to talk about the issues that matter. Just look a Meryl Steep. We fist-pumped the air in solidarity when she made her Golden Globes speech, but so many turned the other way; jeering at the very thought of a wealthy Oscar-winning actress taking a stand from her “out of touch reality” in Hollywood. Would the same have happened if say, Johnny Depp had been on the podium? Probably not; for he would have been spared with the blame likely shifted back to it being all Amber Heard’s fault, or something equally ludicrous, such as Casey Affleck’s questionable past acts toward women going ignored.
And just as we tire of these idiotic occurrences, so too, do these hard working women. Can we blame them for protesting the Who Wears What movement that comes with award season? Or, in the case of actress Jessica Chastain, for biting back against the laughable questions she gets asked on a recurring basis? Chastain is infamous for being what some have deemed “choosy” when it comes to roles. She’s not out to just get an acting job; she wants the right character; a woman of strength, depth and complexity – real women as they are and not merely the love interest of a male lead. So we can’t blame her for tiring of being asked: “Why do you always choose to portray strong women?” Seriously? Give us a break.
She’s sick of being asked, but Chastain’s response is slightly more eloquent:
“We need more of those women out there, on screen. Everyone keeps asking me, why do I always play these strong female characters? For me, every woman I’ve ever met is strong. So it’s such an absurd question. Because I’m just playing a natural woman, a real woman.”
The Zero Dark Thirty star fully agrees there isn’t enough of these roles up for grabs but instead of changing herself to get them, she preferred to just be herself. “I almost dyed my hair blonde, which I guess is throwing in the towel because I was living in Los Angeles, and I couldn’t get an audition. Then I thought, ‘Well everyone’s blonde here, so maybe I should dye my hair blonde.’ But I was afraid of ruining my hair. Also, I like being a redhead. So I just wanted to stay who I am.”
And for our next act, we’d like to compile a full list of stupid questions that should be banned because in the words of Cate Blanchett: “Do you do that to the guys?!”