Last October, actress Jennifer Lawrence spoke out against the gender pay gap in Hollywood, bringing attention to the film industry’s sexist practice of paying female stars far less than male stars, but one Twitter user is shedding light on the dehumanizing roles that await any aspiring actress.
A while back, Vulture ran an article on the age gap between leading men and their love interests. Vulture found that as male stars reach their 40s and 50s, they still get paired with women in their 30s or 20s. In this way, Hollywood casting directors aren’t much different than Matthew McConaughey‘s dirtbag character in Dazed and Confused — “That’s what I love about… girls, man: I get older, they stay the same age.”
Star Wars veteran Carrie Fisher received quite a bit of grief for daring to age in the decades since Return of the Jedi (unlike her costar Mark Hamill, who hasn’t gotten any criticism for his metamorphosis into grizzled drifter lookalike). Fisher responded beautifully on her Twitter feed, (which you should follow if you don’t already):
Please stop debating about whetherOR not?aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.Blow us??
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 29, 2015
Then there’s the Bechdel Test. A movie is said to pass the Bechdel Test if it has: a) at least two female characters in it, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than a man. It’s an incredibly low bar, and the fact that many films fail to reach it speaks volumes about our culture.
But that’s mostly A-list stuff. What’s it like for the average working actress trying to get her foot in the door and build a career? The answer is it’s heinous.
Casting Call Woe
In Standard Issue magazine, actor “Miss L” (using a pseudonym to avoid harming her career) wrote about the humiliations she has gone through to try to get work:
It’s worrying, as an actor, when your working life depends on casting calls such as… “Must be willing to have a condom filled with condensed milk thrown at her face”; “She must be enough of a visual aesthetic to be believably the prey of a stalker”; “You’d be scantily clad, stripped, washed down, wrapped in cling film and then killed”.
My my my, casting call, what a wonderfully vast array of female roles you have on offer… pic.twitter.com/iMKPUHw4Og
— Miss L (@ProResting) November 2, 2015
On her Twitter and her Tumblr, Casting Call Woe, Miss L posts quotations from casting calls—job ads for actors. These ads paint a grim picture of the industry indeed, not just in terms of gender but race as well.
Casting: ‘Ethnicity: Caucasian (semi-open for discussion).’ Well that’s a fun fucking prospect for any potential non-Caucasian applicants.
— Miss L (@ProResting) October 9, 2015
The terrible casting calls are numerous, but as one looks through them, a few patterns emerge:
Many of the roles include no dialog.
Casting calls written by Humbert Humbert
Many of these casting calls are written by men who think that women turn into dust after their 29th birthdays.
Dignity has no place here
Many of these casting calls seem to be written to satisfy some kind of fetish.
Sexy dead bodies
A surprising amount of roles call for the actress to play a corpse whom the male lead lusts after or has sex with.
Please be my girlfriend
In some of these, it’s pretty obvious the filmmaker isn’t looking for an actress — he’s looking for love.
Hm. Wasn’t there a Japanese movie about a guy who used fake film auditions to find his dream girl? How did that turn out for him?
Then there’s this amazing one that calls for an actress to literally play a pair of disembodied breasts
There is nothing I can possibly add to this to make it more ridiculous.
But surely it’s equally bad for men.
Okay, so these roles for women are awful, but surely it’s just as bad for men, right?
Nope! While the roles for male actors aren’t great, they at least let the guys keep their pants on. Men are also permitted to be older than 28, be average-looking, and occasionally speak.
Your daily dose of the ridiculous difference in how male & female characters are treated… pic.twitter.com/Xt0vrmvvwH
— Miss L (@ProResting) October 18, 2015
Featured image via Flickr user stantontcady with modifications.