Cate Blanchett Blasts Hollywood’s Stereotyped Mom Roles

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Get outta the way people, Cate Blanchett is on a war path again! And once again her arsenal is aimed at Hollywood and the way it portrays women.

At the Cannes Film Festival promoting her new film ‘How to Train your Dragon 2’ she spoke about her character, a mother, who is reunited with her heroic son after abandoning him in his early years. It led her to talk about how sick she is of the way women are criticized for their parenting styles, but men are not.

She said there is a whole extra raft of judgment that came with playing a mother on screen, with an expectation that all women fall into “archetypes”.  Cate disclosed her amusement and frustration at the response, as she was asked about her own family life.

“When anyone plays a mother on film, there is a whole raft of judgment in that a mother is a particular archetype or that every mother is the same,” she said.

“That’s complete rubbish. We did discuss a lot about that particular issue because of course there is a judgment on how women parent. The film actually deals with it really beautifully and deeply and emotionally.”

She added: “It’s a certainly a question that’s never asked of men. The question is only ever directed towards of women. ‘How do you balance? How do you have it all?’ ”

The mother of 3 boys admitted she was “surprised” to find motherhood, aging and looks were still so central to the questions asked of actresses.

“We live in a world where there is still not equal pay for equal work,” she said. “I still don’t understand in 2014 why that is the case. I’m not just talking about the industry in which we work, it’s every industry.”

“The things that are being said about women, not just in African countries but in the English-speaking world, I think are absolute appalling and sometimes I think we’re back in the Middle Ages.

“I’m an actress at a film festival. I can cope with the questions, I’m a big girl. But it does surprise me that we’re still asking those questions.”

Cate has a solid reputation for questioning why women are stereotyped in Hollywood, as evidenced by her speech at the the 2014 Academy Awards. She also managed to give E! Network a run for their money on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards by calling them out on their obvious scrutiny of women’s bodies, but not men.

Watch the first 40 seconds of this video in case you missed it, and watch how host Giuliana Rancic cannot recover after Cate’s very obvious stance on the blatant sexism that exists:

It seems the 2014 Cannes Film Festival has been the prime place for women to air their grievances about sexism in the industry, as New Zealander Jane Campion who remains the only woman to win the Palme D’or (the top prize at Cannes) also made some statements about gender bias.

In a press conference she said the film industry is inherently sexism and largely “undemocratic”. Revealing that only seven per cent of the 1,800 films submitted to the festival were by women, Campion said the proportion of female directors represented in Cannes was a significant 20 per cent.

“Time and time again, we don’t get our share of representation. Sorry gentleman, but you do eat more of the cake.”

“It’s not that I resent the male filmmakers – I love all of them – but there’s something that women are doing that we don’t get to know enough about. It’s always a surprise when a woman filmmaker does come out and we get a feminine vision.”

Jane was named president of the Cannes Jury this year, but said the problem isn’t with the french festival, it is with the entire film industry.

“We have more women in the official selection than we saw in the selection process. Cannes is much more in favor of women than cinema itself.”

This is probably why Jane is part of a ‘Females First’  initiative encouraging more women to pick up a character and promote gender diversity in the industry.

It is not a problem that is going away anytime soon, but it is something that can be changed by women taking the lead, and established women speaking up to the next generation. This is why supporting each other in all capacities is so vital. The more we compete and tear each other down it only serves to minimize our chances at equality on all fronts.

We are thankful to have strong, outspoken women like Cate and Jane who are constantly challenging the status quo, and who aren’t afraid to call out the very industry that has employed them for so long. If people like these award-winning women are too afraid to open their mouths and make a difference, how on earth will anything ever change for the rest of the young women who arrive in their wake.

Thank you Jane for being willing to piss off the press for a good cause! Thank you Cate for being the ballsy pioneer woman we need to see both on and off screen. Forget Khaleesi, this is one mother of dragons you don’t wanna make angry!

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9 Comments

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