Natasha Lyonne has been on an incredible panel kick. Last week, she did a great Hollywood Reporter roundtable with funny ladies like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Tiffany Haddish, and Maya Rudolph. On Sunday she weighed in on the importance of television and film by and for women in Hollywood for Netflix’s “Rebels and Rulebreakers” FYSee panel.
Variety reports that Lyonne, who sat on the panel alongside likes of Betty Gilpin, Christina Applegate, Dascha Polanco, Mary J. Blige, and Linda Cardellini, pointed out that shows helmed by women gave a heft to women characters that had mostly been afforded to men in the past.
“There was previously this very limited idea for a female character where endgame must be finding ‘him,’” she said. “but once you eliminate that, there are so many other moves that that character can make. In a deeper sense there are so many bigger ways to write when it’s all of us together.”
Men in classic films, Lyonne pointed out, were given room to think “big thoughts,” while women were more singularly focused:
Lyonne added that in classic films such as “Easy Rider” and “Raging Bull,” male characters were allowed to just linger in moments because “we know they’re thinking big thoughts; they’re men. Ali McGraw maybe pops up, but let’s keep our focus, guys.”
But today, thanks to shows like her own and the others the women on stage were representing, women were moving into such spaces, too. “These are the new ‘Easy Riders,’ ‘Raging Bulls,’ and I’m very excited.”
Indeed, women-led series like Russian Doll, Orange Is the New Black, and G.L.O.W. give their leads permission to be messy and unlikeable and round, without pigeonholing them into the kind of Fuckable or Not boxes they seem to end up in when men dominate the writers’ rooms. Depictions of women become more inclusive, and they become more real. The opportunity they give women writers and actors is equally important, and as the panelists—Lyonne included—noted, the more jobs that exist for women in Hollywood, the less competitive and more supportive the industry becomes for them.
“Once you grow up, you’re confident with yourself, then the female gang changes. We’re all a gang; we’re all a crew; we can hang out and vibe together, and that’s when the business will change,” Blige said.
And as Lyonne pointed out, as the world outside Hollywood becomes even more precarious for women, the more important it is for women to hold one another up. “Now is the time to band together on every level, and yes professionally as well,” she said.