Olivia Wilde Takes Down Hollywood's Sexist Double Standard With One Simple Sentence

Source: AP
Source: AP

You hear that? That's the sound of your new favorite celebrity feminist Olivia Wilde calling out Hollywood sexism for what it is.

As part of a panel on the "State of Female Justice," the actress told a fascinating — and very telling — story about doing a gender-swapped reading of the script for American Pie. The swap resulted in the women getting "all the good lines" and laughs, while the men were sidelined to the roles of supporting props.

"The men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren't used to being the supporting cast," Wilde said. "It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterwards, when they said, 'It's boring to play the girl role!' And I said, 'Yeah. Yeah. You think?! Welcome to our world!'"


Wilde knows what she's talking about; the actress has been in 40 films to-date, but has only had one true leading role (in Drinking Buddies). And her anecdote says a lot about Hollywood's double standard when it comes to the treatment of female characters both on and off screen. For one thing, actresses are paid significantly less and receive fewer lines than their male counterparts. Angelina Jolie, the highest-paid female movie star, makes about the same per movie as the two lowest-paid A-list male stars, Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson. And according to the latest Women's Media Center report, only 28.4% of speaking roles in the top 100 films of 2012 went to women.

In her speech, Wilde pledged to do more to empower women in film, joining the ranks of outspoken feminist actresses like Cate Blanchett (who had a brilliant moment on the red carpet earlier this year when she asked a cameraman, "Do you do this to the guys too?!" as he scanned her up and down). If Hollywood is ever going to become a more equitable place for women, we need more brilliantly bold questions like Blanchett's, and more revealing gender-bends like Wilde's.

Watch Olivia Wilde's full speech on the "State of Female Justice" panel below:


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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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