Emma Thompson Calls out Hollywood’s Sexism: ‘You Get Past 50 and You’re Invisible’

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Emma Thompson speaks on stage at the 3rd annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala benefiting J/P HRO presented by Giorgio Armani at Montage Beverly Hills on January 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for J/P …
Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Actress Emma Thompson called out Hollywood’s casting sexism, stating that once a woman passes the age of 50, she becomes “invisible.”

“You get past 50, and you’re invisible,” said Thompson a recent interview on the CultureBlast podcast. The Love Actually and Late Night star was asked what she thought about being offered to play the role of Mother Theresa when she was only in her 50’s.

Thompson explained how she is set to play a character who says something unique, which she finds interesting.

“But you know, it’s very interesting, this woman I’m about to play, one of the things that she said to this young man — he says, ‘You’re perfectly attractive, why can’t you find another chap?’ And she says, ‘Because the only people willing to sleep with me are people my age, and I want to sleep with someone younger than me,'” said Thompson.

“Now, I’ve never heard a woman say that on screen,” continued the actress, adding that if someone like George Clooney said that on screen, it would be “completely acceptable.”

“It’s completely acceptable for for George Clooney — who is delightful — to have someone who is 40 years younger than him or 30 years younger than him,” said Thompson. “If I have someone playing opposite me in a romantic way, they have to exhume someone, because I’m 61 now. It’s completely and utterly unbalanced.”

During her interview, Thompson also noted that in the face of a seemingly rise in feminism, heroines in the entertainment industry have been given male roles rather than being given the opportunities to play up the unique aspects of women that can also be heroic, such as childbirth.

“So all the women screenwriters I talk to, I say, ‘Well, what’s the story?’ Because it’s not good enough simply to give the women the guns, and then make the women badass as well,” said Thompson. “Now women have to be badass — if they’re feminine in the way that they used to be, and they’re not badass, then they’re not welcome. Also, they’re not allowed to cry, apparently, anymore, because we’ve just got to be like the men.”

“And I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s not what we meant,'” the actress continued. “What is the female heroine? Who is that? What does she do? Because she hasn’t got the wherewithal to do the Superman, to do the Godfather, that’s not the point. That’s not where our heroism lies. So how do we make it heroic?”

“Why are there no films about giving birth for crying out loud?” Thompson added. “Does anyone even know about that? No. No. It’s all hidden. All our heroism is hidden, because what we’ve done is we’ve just given women the same parts as men, and that’s not the point.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


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