Salma Hayek Speaks Out on Hollywood's Failures to Women

Illustration for article titled Salma Hayek Speaks Out on Hollywood's Failures to Women

Variety partnered with UN Women to host a panel on the subject of gender equality at the Cannes Film Festival in support of Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign. The discussion comes after the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent request for a federal and state investigation into the lack of hiring female directors. The panel included Salma Hayek, Parker Posey, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen, who produced the movie Carol, which stars Cate Blanchett as a married woman who has a lesbian affair.

Hayek gave her thoughts on why the film industry continuously fails to recognize and support the talents of women. “It’s simple, plain ignorance. They think the only value we bring to a movie is as an object. The only kind of film where women make more money than men is porno. It’s not funny,” said Hayek, via The Telegraph. She also talked about the only thing that inspires the industry: money. “They have to understand how powerful we are economically. We have the power to show them we can save this film industry,” Sayek continued. Even when it’s an A-list actress who brings in the audience, “The dude takes the credit,” she said. Hayek also talked about being booted out of a movie because the lead actor didn’t approve of her, even when the director championed for her in the role.


“Cinema undermines women’s intelligence. It’s been doing it for some time now. They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is really incredible ignorance.” With ACLU’s investigation and more actresses speaking out about the sexism in Hollywood, hopefully the film industry will start getting their shit together and pay women as much as the men.

Image via Getty.

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The money argument doesn’t surprise me. But, it also potentially indicates a bigger problem.

If Hollywood is responding purely to market forces, then you’re looking at a case where Hollywood is simply not going to fix this problem for anything more than the extreme short term; it would lose them too much money. In that case, you have to also get market forces moving towards the change. And once Hollywood sees the money leads a certain direction, they’ll jump on it.

You see similar problems with porn advertising and the video game industry.