Salma Hayek was joined by actresses Parker Posey, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as well as producers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen at a Cannes event co-hosted by the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. The topic of conversation centered on Women in Hollywood.
Salma Hayek had fighting words for the way women are marginalized in Hollywood today, saying, “The only kind of movie where women make more than men is the porno industry. It’s simple ignorance.”
Parker Posey joined in the fray, backing up Slma Hayek by saying, “We’re in very masculine times. We’re at war. The culture is eating nature, it’s overpowering storytelling.” She noted that movies in the 1940s were better at portraying strong women than Hollywood is now. She notes that female characters in those older films were witty and three-dimensional. “It’s so rare that I see that in movies now.”
Hayek took on the stereotypes that Hollywood perpetuated about women in films.
“For a long time they thought the only thing we were interested in seeing were romantic comedies,” said Hayek. “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”
“It’s pretty much the same everywhere across the globe,” Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said. “We keep coming back to reiterating preconceived ideas.”
Salma Heyek points out that one of the biggest reasons that women are not represented in the film industry enough is that women are not writing and directing films that women want to see.
“They don’t know what we want to see,” Hayek said. “When women don’t direct and women don’t write and tell our own stories, we stopped going to the movies and started watching them on television. I think to some degree it is because television, at least in the United States, has become a place where riskier stories are told, more character-driven stories are told and often those are female-driven."
Rather than playing a blame game, Salma Hayek takes this fact and derives a simple resolution from it.
“Look, we cannot stand as victims and say they are not looking at us,” she said. "What gives me hopes is that we are in a position of power."