Sex sells

Jessica Chastain thinks Hollywood oversexualizes strong women

Actress Jessica Chastain during Carine Roitfeld and Stephen Gan's black-tie ball presented by Mercedes-Benz, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris, March 5, 2013. (Lauren Fleishman/The New York Times)

In a new interview with Radio Times, Jessica Chastain – who stars in upcoming movies The Martian and Crimson Peak – has lashed out at Hollywood for what she sees as their over-sexualization of female action heroes. “If you look at the most incredible female roles, like Ripley in Alien, she is a very sexy woman but she’s not wearing a lot of makeup. She’s in a T-shirt and jeans. What’s sexy about her is how capable she is”, she told the magazine.  Hollywood might think sex sells, but Chastain believes moviegoers are more interested in seeing a female action hero “who’s a capable, intelligent woman and isn’t only leaning on her sex” — using Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games as an example of a tough woman who is “not wearing a catsuit either”. She names Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 as another inspiration for her, when it comes to kickass women in film: “I remember the opening shot of her in that tank top doing those pull-ups, and I remember being a little girl watching her and thinking, ‘This is amazing. I want to be her.'”

In a Time Out interview published earlier this week, Meryl Streep was asked what single thing she’d change about the film industry, to address sexism. “Men should look at the world as if something is wrong when their voices predominate,” she responded. “They should feel it. People at agencies and studios, including the parent boards, might look around the table at the decision-making level and feel something is wrong if half their participants are not women. Because our tastes are different, what we value is different. Not better, different.”

Read the full story at Radio Times.

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