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Cameron Diaz Says She Laughed Off ‘Heavy Misogyny’ in Hollywood to ‘Get Through Unscathed’

"The 1990s, the early aughts, there was still heavy, heavy misogyny. Just the level of exploitation of powers, it just laid on the entire industry."

Cameron Diaz, Annie red carpet

Cameron Diaz

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Cameron Diaz is getting the last word in terms of Hollywood.

After retiring from acting after 2014’s “Annie,” the romantic comedy icon has now shared that she endured misogyny within the industry for decades.

“I certainly didn’t do as much as could be done now because of the awareness of everybody, you know, sort of like the #MeToo,” Diaz said during host and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage’s “Rule Breakers” podcast, in honor of International Women’s Day. “There were still parameters. The 1990s, the early aughts, there was still heavy, heavy misogyny. Just the level of exploitation of powers, it just laid on the entire industry.”

Diaz continued, “It was the normal thing to do sort of like [laugh] and just be able to get through unscathed.”

The “Something About Mary” alum explained that she sought out atypical roles for women, including the “anti-fairytale” animated feature “Shrek” and the desire to be “badass women” along with co-stars Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in “Charlie’s Angels.”

Yet Diaz’s choices in roles couldn’t always isolate the industry’s gendered double standard.

“Be the one who participated enough to make everybody feel taken care of but not to be a victim in that position. To know how to navigate the whole thing because it was happening all day, every day in every little feeling of layers of existence,” Diaz recalled. “It’s a very different thing now, I think.”

Diaz added, “Fame is very infantilizing. It’s very much about keeping somebody coddled in a state of like, we see a little child and think, ‘It’s so cute, I want it to always be cute, and if I keep it cute by always treating it cute, maybe it’ll stay cute forever.’ And that’s how people treat you.” 

As for leaving the film industry, Diaz said, “I just go back to the trap of it all, especially in our society, like what we value, what we think is important. I am absolutely a victim to all of the societal objectifications and exploitations that women are subjected to. I have bought into all of them myself at certain times.”

Diaz previously told Kevin Hart on his Peacock talk show “Hart to Heart” that stepping away from being a “machine” in Hollywood was for the sake of her “personal, spiritual self.”

“When you do something at a really high level for a long period of time, when you’re the person that’s sort of delivering on this one thing, everything around, all parts of you that isn’t that, has to sort of be handed off to other people,” Diaz said, via NME. “It’s fun to do, I love it, I love acting, I could go forever, I sometimes feel like I have unlimited energy and inertia. I just looked around and there were so many parts of my life that I wasn’t touching and that I wasn’t managing, and I couldn’t really manage, because everything was so massive.”

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