I’m not very familiar with Tatiana Maslany’s work outside of Orphan Black, which might account partially for why a recent interview she did with People surprised me. The entertainment industry is notoriously sexist, but (partially because I wrongly assumed her career was only just beginning) the range of sexist experiences the actor has endured is infuriating.
In the interview, Maslany says she “can’t even name the number of times” she’s experienced sexism during her career:
Like being told, ‘Let’s not talk about that, sweetheart,’ if I have an issue with being hit on by a 50-year-old when I was 17 and on set.’ It’s never ending. Being put into this little outfit that showed my midriff in a scene where I’m supposed to be grieving the death of a family member, and it’s like, ‘Make sure that her belly button is showing’ – it’s just pathetic. It’s so pathetic.
Maslany says she often resists requests to shave her body hair for roles, but that “Sometimes it’s not worth being political about it. There’s a point where I have to separate my own political values versus the character I’m playing.”
The actress is also well aware that she’s not alone in dealing with the industry’s sexual harassment, degrading, gendered beauty ideals, lack of well-written roles for women, and countless double standards:
I don’t think that any woman in this industry hasn’t [experienced sexism] – I think we all have in various ways, and sometimes you can’t even tell that it’s happening because it’s so ingrained in the way things are structured. Seventy or 80 percent of the people on set are male – directors, writers, producers, people in positions of power, but that’s shifting too.
[…] I can’t imagine that it’s going to stay stuck like this. I hope not! People are too upset, people are too pissed off and too many strong voices are now being heard. There is a big shift happening, and I think we are at the messy puberty stages of it right now, but I hope that at some point it becomes the default that every racial group has their own stories that are being told that aren’t stereotypical.
It’s just about bringing that sensitivity, your emotional life and your understanding of humanity that women have that’s different to men.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, sexist douchenozzles (especially you, unnamed-50-year-old).
It tolls for thee.
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