Gem of a human Emma Thompson has weighed in on feminism and ageism in Hollywood once more with her typical blend of wit and wisdom, telling Vulture, “I’ve been a card-carrying, radical feminist since I was 19.”
The “Saving Mr. Banks” star finds young actresses’ reluctance to identify as feminists mystifying. “Most women who I would want to listen to wouldn’t have any problem at all with the word feminist,” she said. Thompson described rejecting the label of feminist as “bizarre” and suggested that “[any] woman who says they’re not a feminist is basically saying that they don’t believe in equal rights for women.”
While many stars seem confused about what the word feminist means, it is important to remember that some women — particularly women of color — have eschewed the title of feminist due to the movement’s lack of inclusivity and intersectionality, not because they don’t believe in equal rights for women. Still, we take Thompson’s point and agree with her assertion that the right has misrepresented feminism to such a degree that its aims have been not only distorted, but demonized.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter also added her voice to the conversation about age discrepancies between actors and actresses playing lovers, calling the “age thing” “insane.” Thompson remarked, “It was ever thus. I remember saying years and years ago, when I was 35, that they’d have to exhume somebody to play my leading man…. Nothing’s changed in that regard. If anything, it’s got worse.”
Thompson’s recently released “A Walk in the Woods” sees her cast as the wife of Robert Redford, who is more than 20 years her senior. While she couldn’t resist the offer to “play opposite a legend,” Thompson won’t adopt willful blindness to the problem and the fact that Hollywood only treats it as a problem when the woman is older, however slightly. Thompson shared, “I remember somebody saying to me that I was too old for Hugh Grant, who’s like a year younger than me, in ‘Sense and Sensibility.’ I said, ‘Do you want to go take a flying leap?’”