Entertainment Weekly has four beautiful stars on their cover. However, the topic runs deeper than beauty secrets, make up or designer clothing. EW has gathered four actresses for a roundtable discussion to talk about what really goes on in Hollywood. Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, Elizabeth Banks and EW senior writer Nicole Sperling discussed some of the struggles that actresses deal with, such as the industry’s gender pay gap, sexualization of woman, rumors, sexism and social media – let’s just say the conversation got pretty heavy!
The stars prove that a career as an actress is not just glitz and glam as the media portrays it to be. They might be seen as beautiful, relatable and flawless. However, according to the four ladies, actresses have always been marginalized by Hollywood. With their opinions given about their own personal experiences, they prepare to finally give women in the line of work a voice.
“The Sony hack exposing a lot of salaries opened a lot of … became a more public conversation,” Reese Witherspoon said during the roundtable interview. “I knew it. We all knew it, but we didn’t talk about it.”
For example, the Sony hack revealed that Jennifer Lawrence made less on American Hustle than her male costars, which she later wrote an essay about in Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter.
In the discussion, “Scandal” star Washington had much to add about the pay gap in Hollywood. She pointed out that it’s not necessarily about the money, but “the justification for those inequalities.” She motioned that “it’s okay for the money to look that way. The source of where that belief comes from is what’s not okay.”
Washington supported the cause on 2015’s Equal Pay Day, sharing a Twitter photo with the quote, “When we step up for ourselves, we create opportunity.”
The other stars have also spoken out for equality in Hollywood. Star of Election and Legally Blonde Reese Witherspoon has a history of addressing sexism in Hollywood.
She declared the pay gap a “cultural crisis in every field.” Another inequality mentioned is the pressures women face in Hollywood to get equal recognition as men.
“It reminds me of this line that Shonda Rhimes wrote on our show that has really resonated with African-Americans. It’s this idea you have to be twice as good to get half of what they have,” Washington said. “I think it’s the same for women. You just know, you have to be twice as good. In a way, until girls don’t have that feeling, we will not have done our jobs. That’s almost the point: to not feel the pressure to be extraordinary.”
Eva Longoria chimed in the discussion sharing her thoughts on the power of social media and how rumors spread in the industry.
“I remember starting on Twitter. I loved the immediate way I could correct things. At the time there were just so may lies. It was stupid stuff, like “Eva’s pregnant, Eva’s pregnant, Eva’s pregnant,” she said.
Outside the roundtable discussion, inequality in Hollywood has become a trending topic. Even at the Oscars, where we are supposed to celebrate the “highest artistic achievements in film,” many reporters often emphasize looks rather than achievements. Celebs as well as EW’s four cover stars are now supporting the #AskHerMore campaign to encourage the world to look at actresses beyond their beauty.
By: Taylor Bennett