Meryl Streep never fails to inspire. Lesser women might feel entitled (or just lazy) after scoring an unprecedented SEVENTEEN Oscar nominations (she just snagged another one for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady), but I love how Streep often makes a point of commenting on sexism in the film industry. When NPR's Terry Gross asked her to expand on an issue she raised during a 2010 speech to Barnard's graduating class — that it's easier for women to get into the mindset of dudes than it is for men to relate to female protagonists — Streep said:
I watch movies and I don't care who is the protagonist, I feel what that guy is feeling. You know, if it's Tom Cruise leaping over a building I, I want to make it, you know? And I'm going to, yes, I made it. And yeah, so I get that.
And I've grown up, well, partly because there weren't great girls' literature. Nancy Drew maybe. But there weren't things. So there was Huck Finn and Spin and Marty. The boys' characters were interesting and you lived through them when you're watching it. You know, you're not aware of it but you're following the action of the film through the body of the protagonist.
You know, you feel what he feels when he jumps, when he leaps, when he wins, when he loses. And I think I just took it for granted that, you know, we can all do that. But it became obvious to me that men don't live through the female characters.
If anyone can sway gender norms, it's Meryl.