Bette Davis Talking About Gender Roles in 1963: Awesome

The latest installment of PBS's wonderful series Blank on Blank, in which they pair old interviews with famous people with wonderful animations, is here! And it features the illustrious Bette Davis, speaking about being outspoken and intelligent in her line of business and how the experience of being a woman has changed.


In the 1963 interview, conducted by the badass columnist/reporter Shirley Eder, Davis speaks on the changing roles of women and how the idea of the "little woman" simply doesn't exist anymore:

I think men have got to change an awful lot. I think somehow they still prefer the little woman. They're just staying way, way behind and so as a rule I think millions of women are very happy to be by themselves, they're so bored with the whole business of trying to be the little woman, when no such thing really exists anymore. It just simply doesn't. This world's gone way beyond it. The real female should be partly male and the real male should be partly female anyway. So if you ever run into that in either sex you've run into something very, very fine, I think.


Beautiful. Oh and if you're a fan of the animation, that's the work of Patrick Smith, an award-winning animator, who – among other things – directed MTV's Downtown and Daria. Alright, you can now make that Kim Carnes reference I know you've been holding in.

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Bette Davis is absolutely tremendous, and also played awful, unsympathetic characters all the time in an era when most female stars were more interested in being America's sweetheart. She's so vile in "Of Human Bondage"! I love it! And that scene in "The Little Foxes" when her husband dies! I love it!

I love her comment, too, about playing the 'unsympathetic' part in "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?", in comparison to the bland, saintly Blanche played by Joan Crawford (warning: paraphrasing here): 'I wouldn't have accepted any part BUT Baby Jane...Miss Crawford was more concerned with the positioning of her falsies.'