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Feminist of the Day: Olivia Wilde

Feminist of the Day: Olivia Wilde

Need a reminder of the awesome and awful power of Hollywood? 

In a panel called the “State of Female Justice,” actress Olivia Wilde shares a story about being recognized while “on a camel in Senegal” by “the guy who was helping me not fall off my camel.” “You’re Doctor Thirteen [Wilde’s character] on House,” she recalls him saying. 

That moment led her to realize that “We have to do a better job of representing different lifestyles and women in empowered roles because literally everyone is seeing this stuff that we [in Hollywood] put out. So we have to be more responsible for what we do put out.”

Wilde, who’s played supporting roles in over 40 movies and has only had one starring role (in last year’s excellent Drinking Buddies), then told a revealing anecdote that illustrates the frustration she must feel as an actress in an industry that works against her success (emphasis added):

I don’t know if some of you have been to these live reads at LACMA, where a classic film is read live on stage by actors who just sit and read the script. We did one recently of American Pie, but we reversed the gender roles. All the women played men; all the men played women. And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles — they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments — 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. 

It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, “It’s boring to play the girl role!” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!”  

She added, “It’s really hard to get stories made that are about women — not just women being obsessed with men or supporting men. And it’s really hard to get men to be a part of films that are about women in a leading role. I’m really interested in how we can adjust that, considering that it’s all just based on demand.” 

Watch Wilde’s four-minute “State of Female Justice” video below:

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