The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hollywood Actress Urges Hollywood to Create More Jobs for Actresses

Posted on | March 3, 2014 | 35 Comments

If any misogynist is looking for evidence of female mental inferiority, the Huffington Post’s “Women” category is a treasure trove, with dumb writers and dumber topics (e.g., “Why I Hate Wearing Bras” and “I Was On Reality TV — Here’s What It’s Like To Fake ‘Real Life‘”), suggesting that there are two basic ideas behind the category:

  1. Women are too stupid to be interested in actual news, and require their own special kind of non-news reading;
  2. The only people who can write this kind of meaningless drek without embarrassment are untalented women.

Bad women writers producing stupid articles for dumb women readers — that’s the “Huffington Post Women” category in a nutshell. And as if we needed more evidence of HuffPo’s belief in female inferiority, this was a feature article in the section Monday:

Cate Blanchett Lets Hollywood Know
Women Are Not A ‘Niche’ Audience

Cate Blanchett has done it again.
As if there weren’t already enough reasons for us to love Blanchett, last night she stole our hearts all over again with a gracious yet enlightening acceptance speech for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.
Our favorite moment? When she called out Hollywood’s sexist tendencies and reminded everyone that people really do want to see films with female leads:

And thank you to… those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences. They are not — audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.

Far be it from my purpose to defend “the industry” from any of its critics. If Cate Blanchett wants the world to believe that Hollywood is run by a bunch of sexist swine whose misogyny is so powerful as to transcend their notorious greed, she’ll get no argument from me. But everybody who follows the movie business knows that the economic challenge in the age of instant-download video and home-theater giant screens is how to create an “event” that will get people to leave home and take the kids to the multiplex. The Top 10 U.S. box-office films of 2013 were:

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
2. Iron Man 3
3. Frozen
4. Despicable Me 2
5. Man of Steel
6. Gravity
7. Monsters University
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug –
9. Fast & Furious 6
10. Oz The Great and Powerful

I don’t pay much attention to movies, so I can’t say if any of those are “female films, with women at the center,” but most of them clearly are not. Cate Blanchett keeps working as Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings series, so she got a spot in the Top 10, but it’s hard to argue for The Hobbit as a movie “with women at the center.”

Why is it, however, that there is something inherently righteous about actresses demanding more work for actresses? Would we applaud Clint Eastwood if he gave an Oscar speech demanding that Hollywood create more roles for geriatric geezers?

But if you’re looking for thoughtful criticism of the self-serving inanities uttered by movie stars — or thoughtful discussion of anything, really — don’t look for it in HuffPo’s “Women” category.



35 Responses to “Hollywood Actress Urges Hollywood to Create More Jobs for Actresses”

  1. CrustyB
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

    Isn’t that kind of thing market-driven, like anything else? If people wanted to see “Iron Woman,” “Woman of Steel” and “The Hobbit: I Clip Coupons I Never Use” wouldn’t the demand drive the industry?

  2. SKHigginbotham
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM Hollywood Actress Urges Hollywood to Create More Jobs for Actresses #TCOT

  3. AMartel
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

    I hear you on the constant feminist wailwhining. That being said, if there was a movie with some kick-ass woman “at the center” (who wasn’t whining or being aggrieved) I would totally go (and I suspect so would a lot of other like-minded people). That’s not what she’s talking about, of course. She wants movies where women whine and cry and are oppressed by evil society but overcome it blahblahblah. But if someone was truly interested … there’s your bonanza money tempest just waiting to happen. Also, Clint DID make a movie where geriatric geezers kicked the younguns butts – it’s called Space Cowboys and it was pretty good.

  4. Mm
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

    1 and 6 definitely have a woman at the middle. A couple of the others have strong female characters. Given that most of the top ten movies are action/adventure films with beautiful female character, who just happen to be young, it sounds like Blanchett is actually advocating for the middle aged actress demographic.

  5. Freedomswatch
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:15 pm


  6. Dana
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    The obvious question is: does Hollywood produce the movies that people want to see, or do people want to see what Hollywood produces? For an economist, it’s hard to argue with the box office: the movies that are popular are popular because people are paying their own money to see them.

    The status of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is telling to someone who has read both, many times: the books are storytelling, but the movies are action-adventure flicks, because that is what sells!

    There are, of course, hundreds of not-so-popular movies made every year; perhaps if the lovely Miss Blanchett looked at those to see if they were more heavily chick flicks women oriented movies, she’d see if there is an audience-selection bias away from those movies.

  7. Dana
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

    Gal Gadot has been signed to play the title role in three Wonder Woman movies, but we’ll have to wait to see if they do well.

  8. Dodd
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

    Well, #1 on the list is indisputably a woman- (well, girl-) centered film that basically printed money for everyone involved. And is part 2 of a 4-part adaptation of a trilogy of books. In addition to the upcoming installments for the final HG book, two of the most-anticipated films coming out in the next few months (Divergent and Veronica Mars) are also female-centered. VM has a decidedly niche appeal but Divergent (like The Hunger Games) is a big budget blockbuster adaptation of a successful YA book that will also make veritable gobs of money.

    Which is to say, Hollywood clearly hasn’t ignored female-centered movies. When they’re reasonably likely to be profitable.

  9. Quartermaster
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

    I don’t expect anything thoughtful out of any part of the Puffington Post.

  10. Jeanette Victoria
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

    Actually I am completely turned off by women as warrior idiocy. Give me an old Bette Davis movie.

  11. Julie Pascal
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    Hunger Games, Frozen, and Gravity… so I suppose that movies with male leads outnumber female leads handily. However. I’d like to point out that neither Hunger Games nor Gravity are movies with “women at the center”. Nor (thank you very much!) is Iron Man, Despicable Me 2, or the Hobbit, movies with “men at the center.”

    This is related to “women are too stupid to be interested in actual news.” Which illustrates the insulting (but pervasive) idea that women’s issues are somehow fundamentally different from human issues.

    It’s possible, of course, to write a book or film a movie *about* being a man, or *about* being a woman, or *about* being african-american, etc. But the notion that all movies with male leads have “men at the center” or are *about* the male experience is… unfortunately common stupidity. (Pay attention when the discussion is about black actors being under-represented and someone will eventually explain why a block buster headliner doesn’t count even if he’s black, because his block buster *movies* aren’t about his blackness.)

    Iron Man isn’t about being a man, and Gravity is not about being a woman.

  12. Charles
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

    The greatest Hollywood box office hit of all time had a woman named Scarlet O’Hara at the center.

    Oz The Great and Powerful may have had a man at the center, but it also had meaty roles for Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams. All in the shadow of the great Judy Garland, of course. 1939 was so much better for women.

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Gravity do have women at the center. That’s two out of 10, but neither stars Cate Blanchett. She’s in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to be sure, but not at the center, because her character doesn’t pick up a sword.

    What Cate Blanchett needs is to pick pick up a sword, a bow and arrow, a gun, or a super power. Hey, it’s working for Jennifer Lawrence and Sandra Bullock.

  13. richard mcenroe
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

    Frozen and Oz both had strong, well-written female characters… oh, wait, now I see the problem…

  14. Bob Belvedere
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

    Hear, hear. There was a time when such dramas were made for men and women [for the most part – we’ll leave Douglas Sirk out of this discussion], but now they’ve evolved into unwatchable-for-men chick flicks, with only the occasional one [like While You Were Sleeping] being a film a man can watch without becoming ill or bored.

  15. Jeanette Victoria
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

    Tome to watch Now, Voyager one more it’s my all time favorite movie

    Then queue up Mr. Skeffington

  16. JeffS
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

    What, the local Applebee’s isn’t hiring? Maybe they should check out Denny’s.

  17. Finrod Felagund
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    Consider that two of them (Monsters University, Hobbit 2) don’t even feature humans.

  18. cmdr358
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    Agreed and Joan Crawford as well. Joan was great and still, every time I come across one of her movies I’m captivated.

  19. Finrod Felagund
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

    I call ’em the PuffHo.

  20. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

    Kate Blanchet shilling for work is not a bad thing (or a good thing), it was just a nothing–I basically got a drink around that point of the Oscars. I thought Ellen was pretty funny, especially in the opening. The pizza thing was dumb.

  21. Kirby McCain
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

    You watched the Oscars?

  22. Nan
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

    I watched The Great Lie within the last couple of weeks. Good movie!

  23. Kirby McCain
    March 3rd, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

    Underworld, and the sequels have a woman at the center and puts fannies in seats. And it’s usually action films that play best at the multiplex. The surround sound for action films is great at the theater. Then there’s Carrie and The Exorcist with a female central figure. Alien and Prometheus. SWF. The Devil Wears Prada comes across just as well on the home theater.

  24. RKae
    March 4th, 2014 @ 12:27 am

    Agreed. The “women as warrior” thing is nothing more than women imitating men. How the hell is that empowerment of women?

    “What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?” Now THAT’S a heck of a movie!

  25. Dana
    March 4th, 2014 @ 6:51 am

    Depends on the chick flick; you can watch Practical Magic just to drool over Nicole Kidman, or Romancing the Stone to lust after Kathleen Turner. 🙂

    Not that I do that, of course.

  26. Dana
    March 4th, 2014 @ 6:56 am

    Perhaps she’d like the old Friday the 13th movie series, which always had a bunch of women in the center of the film.

    And it was usually one of the female characters who killed off (albeit temporarily) the killer. You knew which one it would be from the start; it was always the good girl, the one who wasn’t copulating with one of the male characters in the movies, the one who wasn’t so obviously braless.

  27. Bob Belvedere
    March 4th, 2014 @ 7:53 am

    Oh, I know. You can watch those kind of Chick Flicks, but alcohol needs to be involved for endurance reasons. I’m speaking of those ones that are actually well-made films for adults.

  28. Dana
    March 4th, 2014 @ 8:05 am

    But I don’t drink . . .

  29. richard mcenroe
    March 4th, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    Unless she has a much stronger presence on film than in stills, I don’t see it working.

  30. Quartermaster
    March 4th, 2014 @ 11:21 am

    We all waste time mindlessly from time to time.

  31. Quartermaster
    March 4th, 2014 @ 11:23 am

    That’s a personal problem.

  32. Dana
    March 4th, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

    Not for me!

  33. Bob Belvedere
    March 4th, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

    Prescription meds, then.

  34. Hanzo
    March 4th, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

    “But if you’re looking for thoughtful criticism of the self-serving inanities uttered by movie stars — or thoughtful discussion of anything, really — don’t look for it in HuffPo’s “Women” category”.
    Don’t look for anything thoughtful in any section at HuffPo.

  35. Quartermaster
    March 4th, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    Drugs or hootch. Take yer pick.