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Actresses at Sundance Are Saying Some Important Things About Women in Hollywood

6212015 Sundance Film Festival - x201CPower Of Stories Serious Ladies Panel

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is going strong, and the ladies in attendance want you to know that they’re here to fight for equality in Hollywood.

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The New York Daily News reports that at the Q&A after a screening of Mistress America at the Eccles Theater, Greta Gerwig had some words to say about why women are so important in the creative process. America focuses on Gerwig, a woman living in New York City without direction.

“After [Mistress America director Noah Baumbach and I] made Frances Ha together,” said Gerwig, “we were so thrilled with the fact that it was a story that had nothing to do with a woman falling in love or losing love or being unlucky in love. We were excited to try to find another [female-based] story.”

“I did go to a woman’s college,” added Gerwig, “so I’m going to quote Virginia Woolf, who said that ‘Only women know what women are like when they’re alone.’ That’s why we need women writers, because men don’t know what we’re doing when they’re not there!”

Meanwhile, Jane Fonda was dropping truth bombs over at the Women of Sundance brunch, according to Deadline. “The studios are run by men and they have the bottom line to meet, and they give jobs to people like them,” said Fonda. “It’s a matter of gender, not that we don’t have the experience.”

Fonda went on to add that men with few credits often get handed huge roles, and that “[w]e have to shame the studios for being so gender-biased” while “fight[ing] real hard to get women in positions of power and remember[ing] there are no set rules.”

The Power of Story: Serious Ladies panel included a myriad of inspirational Hollywood women, including Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham (your mileage may vary), Kristen Wiig, and Jenji Kohan (recorded by THR).

The panelists discussed the conflation of their on-television personas with their real-life personalities by people, and how gendered that issue is. “It’s a confusing thing when people equate the words that come out of your character’s mouth with some real life philosophy that you absolutely don’t possess,” said Dunham. “At the end of the day I don’t think that Larry David or Woody Allen or anyone else playing some version of themselves is walking around with a million people who think that they know and understand them on a deep and abiding level.” Dunham does also, not erroneously, go on to call Woody Allen a “real perv,” so there’s at least that.

Personally, I’m jazzed to see more women in Hollywood speaking up about the inequalities of the industry instead of just accepting them as a de facto part of the star system. We can only hope studios start listening.

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Sam Maggs
Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.

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