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The Female Perspective: Ageism AND Sexism Rears It’s Ugly Head in Hollywood…Again

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Recently, in an interview with TheWrap magazine, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal discussed ageism and sexism in Tinseltown, revealing that she was turned down for the part of being a love interest to a 55-year old man- Gyllenhaal herself is 37. Oh yes, clearly she is a hag at this point.

Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

It’s no surprise that Hollywood treats female actresses differently than males. It’s been happening since any of us can remember. In fact, a study conducted recently stated:

A study of the top 265 earning actresses and actors in Hollywood films between 1968 and 2008 released last year by the Journal Of Management Inquiry revealed actresses are paid less as they get older, with wages increasing steadily through their 20s and dropping rapidly after 34. Meanwhile, actors’ salaries do not peak until 51 years old and do not decrease with age. ~Huffington Post

Basically, if you are an actress over the age of 34 you are out of luck in terms of getting paid the same as your male counterparts (unless you are Meryl Streep, that woman is unstoppable!). So why is this a badly kept secret that the actresses themselves seem to do nothing about? Sure, they speak out about it in magazines, but are they doing something about it to make studio’s pay them what they are worth? Or, are they fearful that by taking a stand against a studio, they may never work again? I’ll never pretend to understand Hollywood and the weirdness that goes on there (why they keep “rebooting” films is beyond me, don’t people have new ideas anymore?) so I’ll keep this brief, my confusion is about the fact that a woman like Gyllenhaal, a talented actress, who is at 37, too old to be the lover of a 55 year old man. If anything, she might be too young! It’s a bizarre situation and I give her a lot of credit for being able to discuss it gracefully.

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” Gyllenhaal said. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Good for you!

As I read more about the study I mentioned earlier regarding the pay rates of women actresses versus men, I couldn’t get angry, anger is the wrong emotion to feel here. What I feel here is sadness. Sadness that this is what Hollywood has become. This is why getting a Superhero movie starring either Wonder Woman or Black Widow is nearly impossible, this is why we can’t have nice things!

According to the study, “Men’s well-worn faces are thought to convey maturity, character and experience. A woman’s face, on the other hand, is valued for appearing young.”

No wonder young girls starve themselves to death or try to surgically enhance themselves to the point of danger (the Kardashian lip situation rings a bell here), Hollywood rarely takes responsibility for what young girls (or even boys) do to themselves in order to look “right” for the movies. The fact is, when you look back on the “good ole days” of movies, people looked NORMAL, women had curves for pete’s sakes, they had all different hair colors and cuts. Nowadays we see a lot of the same thing, straight hair and skinny ladies. Now, I’m not hating on the skinny gals (or straight hair), I love them just as much as my curvy ladies, but what I’m saying here is that we need INDIVIDUALITY these days, not a bunch of Stepford Wives.

Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.
Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.

I feel that even as I type this it’s a waste of my time. Hollywood isn’t changing- well, not entirely.

Maybe I’m actually wrong about that, the recent Mad Max: Fury Road film is a good example of how an action movie has become something more, something feminist. Maybe those are the little changes that will eventually effect BIG change?

Only time will tell for sure on this one and even though I sound hopeless, I do actually have some hope for the future of women in film. Maybe at some point Hollywood will see that it’s okay to show an “older” woman on screen and no one will die. People won’t turn from the theater in fear or disgust. Maybe I have to be patient and wait this out.

Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!
Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!

What do YOU think? Will Hollywood every change? Are older actresses appealing? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Gay Kissing, Dreadlocks and Racism. Oh My!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Today I want to address a few different topics that I was made witness to these last few days. I am going to start by saying that this post may not be appropriate for all ages and I heartily apologize for the slur used in #2 listed below. That is the only time I will use it myself because it makes me feel ugly.

  1. The Walking Dead” had a gay kiss, the reactions are predictably (and sadly) off the wall insane.
  2. A FOX TV reporter used the term “jiggaboo” to describe Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” performance.
  3. Giuliana Rancic (with an assist from Kelly Osbourne) from E! News Fashion Police decided that singer Zendaya Coleman must smell of “weed or pachouli” because she has dreadlocks. 

Sigh. I am not even sure where to start with the feelings these three incidents bring up within me. I think the biggest feeling is disappointment. I know there is good in the world (this story proves it) but some days it can be very challenging to find the good amidst all the bad.

The Gay Kiss on The Walking Dead

The kiss is less than 1 minute long. Seriously?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you are aware that I am a huge fan of “The Walking Dead”. I read the comics and enjoy the show. That being said, I was not surprised when two new male characters decided to share a kiss this past Sunday. It was so not a story to me that I admit to being surprised that people were outraged by this one-second kiss. Perhaps that makes me naive. I prefer to think that it makes me more tolerant than some of the trolls online.

From reading some of the tweets and comments after the show aired. You would think that the dang sky was falling down and that “The Walking Dead” had committed the biggest sin ever.

Excerpted from Bleeding Cool, here are some of the responses from some trolls over that one second kiss.

daniel franko @danielfranko5

Follow

@WalkingDead_AMC i have been watching the walking dead for years with my kids,then with no warning u throw gays in there, I’m disappointed

10:46 PM – 22 Feb 2015

63 RETWEETS 9 FAVORITES

I’m not sure what to be offended at most, the fact that this guys homophobic tweet got 63 retweets and 9 favorites or that this “man” watches “The Walking Dead” with his KIDS and is only now offended. Never mind that in past episodes we see Zombies eating people; cannibals and other such horrors, the true horror here is that two men kissed. Dear lord. Yes, it’s truly a show for kids. Until now. Can’t have the kids seeing what a loving relationship is like. No, no, that’s too horrific for their sensitive ears and eyes. Yeah, let’s think of the kids for sure because they should be watching a show about zombies and death. Yeah, that’s really stellar.

It continues on with this gem;

I don’t discriminate against gay people. Plenty of my co-workers are gay. I just rather not have young children exposed to the BS on TV

— BJ JONES (@BJizz1e) February 23, 2015

Oh, oh I gotcha…you’re NOT a homophobe yet seeing two people who LOVE EACH OTHER share a quick kiss, that’s offensive. Again with the kids. Seriously?!?!?!? What rocks do these folks live under?

And one of my personal favorites;

I’m not a homophobic but that gay couple just ruined The Walking Dead

— Bri Scott (@bri_scott34) February 23, 2015

I’ve got news for your BJ and Bri Scott, you ARE homophobes. Whenever you have to start a sentence with “I’m not homophobic…” or “I’m not racist, but…” it’s a sure sign that you are, in fact homophobic and/or racist. Don’t try to delude yourself into thinking that you are on the right side of this discussion. I am simply trying to understand why one moment of a show can ruin an entire series??? Someone, please explain that to me.

“Accidental” Racism

ZDKM9

Next, we have Kristi Capal, a local newscaster who thinks she can use a racist slang on TV and no one will get angry.

I should note that Capal did apologize later but the damage was done. She used a term that is defined as being offensive in the dictionary to describe Lady Gaga’s “Sound of Music” performance on the Oscars. Now, first off, Lady Gaga killed it at the Oscar’s. She showed a poise and elegance we rarely see from the performer. It was a reminder that not only is she a talented pianist, she is an talented singer as well. Even Julie Freakin Andrews loved it!

All this comment did was reveal Capal to be both racist and ignorant. She later said she didn’t know what the term meant. An explanation many find hard to believe since it is a rarely used word these days. It’s simply not a word you pull out of thin air. I suspect she said it without thinking but all the while knowing exactly what it meant. I am sure it was probably one of those moments where as soon as she said it (in front of her African-American co-anchor no less) she realized she had made a mistake, but it was too late Capal. We heard it.

According to E! News, Dreadlocks Smell of Weed

Finally, we come to the mess that is E! News and their Oscar Fashion Police. When I was younger, I found this show amusing but as I’ve grown, I see it now for the cruel farce it truly is. It’s a group of people putting down others for cheap laughs. It’s not a show I ever watch and I honestly cannot say that I’m surprised that one of the hosts finally got into some trouble for making a somewhat racist and very much cruel, comment.

Fashion Police host Rancic said that Coleman looks like she smells of "pachouli or weed".
Fashion Police host Rancic said that Coleman looks like she smells of “pachouli or weed”.

The story is that host Giuliana Rancic decided to throw a cheap shot at singer Zendaya Coleman, an 18 year old with dread locks. Rancic decided that this young woman (who looked stunning by the way) must either smell like “Pachouli or Weed”. What’s kind of amusing is she got an assist from Kelly Osbourne (of all people!) who added the weed part.

Um. What?

What’s interesting is that the outrage was instantaneous. People were stunned that Rancic would make such a comment without thinking. The show isn’t about what you smell like, it’s about what you are wearing. This was a low blow even by E!’s somewhat questionable standards.  What it made it more interesting wasn’t Rancic’s pathetic apology but Coleman’s classy response to this nonsesnse.

You can read the full text of Coleman’s response but my favorite part was this;

“To me, locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane,” the singer wrote. “I suggest some people should listen to India Arie’s ‘I Am Not My Hair’ and contemplate a little before opening your mouth so quickly to judge.”

I want to note that it was after Coleman issued her articulate and classy response to Rancic’s comments that Rancic apologized.

ADDITION as of 2/25: Rancic has since issued a very sincere and articulate apology – you can read/watch it here. While I again appreciate her efforts, for her to say she has “learned a lot”saddens me. Didn’t she already know this lesson?

My Thoughts On it All

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you might be reading this and think, well Rancic and Capal both apologized for the slights and that should be enough but it simply isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that they either found the presence of mind to apologize (or they were made to)but it doesn’t matter because the words were put out there. The fact that these thoughts were expressed on live TV saddens me.

I know I suffer from acting before I think occasionally. Sometimes that causes issues, sometimes it’s not a big deal. But never once have I issued hatred for another human being in public. I work hard at practicing non-judgement (and on days like this, it’s REALLY hard and I know I’ve failed a bit) but I am human, I fail. They are human and they fail. But it has to stop. If you are in the public eye you need to think before you speak. You need to realize that getting a cheap laugh for making fun of someone is never OK. You mocked a beautiful young woman for wearing her hair naturally and you praise her when she straightens her hair and looks “normal” – to you, anyway. Shame on the homophobes and shame on people like Rancic and Capal.

I wish I was a big enough person not to judge them for their actions but I am not. This type of hatred cannot stand. We have to learn to love each other, to be respectful of one another in order to find peace.

Love-one-another-and-Love-quote-pictures

What do you think of these topics? What can we do to stop these types of “slips” from happening?

Let me know in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Why The Oscars Matter

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


I know, it seems like a ridiculous idea, that the Oscars matter. Here’s why I think it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.

  • There was one acceptance speech about calling your parents, if they are alive, and telling them you love them.
  • There was one acceptance speech that talked about suicide.
  • The performance of “Glory” by Common and John Legend.
  • Patricia Arquette talked about equality for women.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at all of these. Point by point.

J.K. Simmons, star of the movie “Whiplash” won an Oscar and said the following:

And if I may, call your mom. Everybody — I’m told there’s like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them.

Don’t text, don’t e-mail.

Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them.

A simple, beautiful and truthful message of love. Don’t hesitate to tell the ones you love that you love them. Right now. Not later. Not when it’s too late. Now. A simple, but important message. So many of us wait until later. We always think there is enough time. The fact is, we have no idea how much time there is and newsflash, there will never be “enough” time.

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Graham Moore won an Oscar and gave probably the bravest acceptance speech of the night. He talked about how, when he was 16, he tried to kill himself because he felt “different” from everyone else. He went on to say to all those kids who feel different or that they don’t belong that they do belong and that they need to “stay weird”. A perfect, beautiful sentiment that got expressed to billions of people last night, adults and kids who may feel different, lost or unwanted. There is always a place for them. I know how that feels. When I was young, I felt “different” and I was deeply confused and scared. I half-heartedly attempted suicide more than once. Luckily it never worked because I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I second Moore’s sentiments. Be patient, it gets better.

In case you're wondering, this is what bravery looks like.
In case you’re wondering, this is what bravery looks like.

John Legend and Common. I don’t even have the right words for how amazing they are. Watching their performance gave me chills. It brought Oscar audience members to tears and it reminded us all that the fight rages on. In Ferguson. In New York. Around the world. The fight for equality hasn’t ended simply because we have a black president. If anything, the fight has gotten fiercer and needs to be given voice in this way. Eloquently. Beautifully and honestly.

Click this link for the performance and their acceptance speeches.

Finally, we come to Patricia Arquette. She won an Oscar and gave a speech that brought Meryl Streep to her feet (among others). She made a point of saying that we need equality in he sexes. Women deserve equal rights, everywhere. Rock on Patricia. ROCK ON.

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As silly and overblown as the Oscars are, it’s heart-warming to know that there are artists out there that take the opportunity to really speak from the heart and get important messages out there. Maybe they changed someone’s mind about equality or race or suicide. Maybe not. What matters is that their messages are all over the internet today and people who may not have seen the Oscars are seeing these words, spoken by admired celebs, and maybe it inspires them. Maybe it cheers them up or maybe it makes them see someone in a different way.

Maybe I’m putting too much hope into it all. I didn’t personally watch the Oscars last night, I prefer to catch the highlights the next day, but reading these stories today warmed my heart. Watching Common and John Legend perform “Glory” warmed my heart and gave me chills. This is what celebrity should be used for, to spread messages of love and peace. Of equality.

BONUS: And then there’s Lady Gaga singing a medley from “Sound of Music” – because, why not?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLH57pFhAkY

Did you watch The Oscars last night? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!