They don't see us as a powerful economic force, which is incredible ignorance, says Salma Hayek
Talks are really heating up about gender inequality in Hollywood ever since the issue has been touched by ACLU. On Saturday, Variety teamed up with UN Women to host a panel discussion on sexism at the Cannes Film Festival. One of the panelists was Salma Hayek alongside many others such as Parker Posey, Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen, the producers of “Carol”, a film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
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Speaking of the current situation for women in film industry both behind and in front of the camera, Salma Hayek said. “For a long time they (the studio executives) thought the only thing we were interested in seeing were chick flicks, romantic comedies. But we’re smarter than that.” Salma said. “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”
Last year, only 4.6 percent of studio films were directed by women and this year, no such film has been nominated for Oscar’s Best Film category which features a woman in a lead role. Most of the women are also getting less pay in comparison to their male counterparts.
“The only kind of where women make more money is the porno industry.” Salma Hayek said. “Our pay can never go up because we never get the opportunity to show what we can bring in revenue.”
Salma Hayek shared some of her personal experiences where she accepted some roles merely because of witty and intelligent lines associated with her character but it only turned out that these lines were taken out of the script on the demand of the male lead, so it cannot outshine his character.
“Most of the big stars in their contracts have approval of their leading ladies… And they do not like it when the female character is strong.”
Salma added. “I have had movies where the director really wanted me, but the dude did not approve and I have got pipped out.”
When asked about the solution of dealing with this problem, Salma said. “The only thing we can do is show them we are an economic force. Nothing else will move them.”