April 28, 2016

Emma Watson interviews Geena Davis about feminism

In a new feature in Interview Magazine, Thema & Louise star Geena Davis sat down with Emma Watson to talk about one subject they are both passionate about: feminism.

In the candid chat, the two discussed when they first noticed the lack of female roles in the film industry.

Davis, 60, explained that while watching TV with her then-preschool daughter she noticed that there were far more male characters than there were female. When she started widening her scope, she noticed a similar problem among mainstream Hollywood films.

"The world is missing female characters. A lot of times there is one female character, maybe even a cool one, maybe even an important one. But where are all the rest?" Davis explained.

The actress said she started looking into the statistics and data of female roles and was horrified by the lack of opportunities. After realizing the problem, she created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, an organization dedicated to improving gender balance in the entertainment industry.

"It wasn't so I could go educate the public, really. It was so I could go back to the people in the industry and present it to them and say, 'See, it really is still a problem,'" she said. "We go meet with every studio, every guild, every network, every production company and share it with them, privately. I don't really bust anybody publicly. It's much more efficient if I can impact the creators. So that's what we do. It's had a great impact."

Watson, 25, backed Davis' stance, admitting that most people don't recognize the problem until it's pointed out to them.

"If you've been sold the line that gender equality is something that is solved, and that we now live in an equal world and this has all been tackled, you're not looking for it in the same way," explained Watson. "I would say there have been different stages of my feminist awakening. The more layers you peel back and the more things you're made aware of, you're like, 'Oh my God.' "

To continue her efforts in trying to get more opportunities for females, Davis created the Bentonville Film Festival, which kicks off next week.

"It's to champion women and diversity in all media," Davis explained. "We're using the same philosophy as my institute, which is to make it research-based and really try to work directly with filmmakers and content creators and move the needle."


Anonymous said...

wtf is going on with that picture of emma?

why does she even need such photoshop? pure sexism - why doesn't she speak up??

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Em, her idea of feminism is getting tedious and disappointing. In my opinion, there are more important issues to address/tackle in gender inequality than just unequal paychecks or female Hollywood roles! I understand she's fighting for gender equality in all walks of life, but there are worse things going on for women in reality: racism, lack of respect (esp in Asian and middle east countries), lack of education, domestic violence, sexual abuse, female infanticide/foeticide, sadism and the list could just go on...Oh for God's sake, there are even instances of vitriolage against women! When Emma first launched heforshe, I'd been so happy and proud of her, for delivering such a moving speech. I genuinely believed she would bring about a change, but as days went on, her feministic ideals have been nothing but a huge disappointment. She had, maybe, touched upon some of these issues, but never really addressed them in a platform were the entire world can hear/acknowledge/understand the horrors women in some of these patriarchal societies have to endure just for survival. No book is substitute for travelling to places and experience for oneself what's really happening. Emma has mentioned she would be travelling a lot this year and hope she really does because I believe her heart's in the right place and she can do wonders once she realizes the reality of the plight of women.

Anonymous said...

Geena has a good point. Unfortunately aging Hollywood women don't get that much publicity. Our Emma needs to interview J-Law or Angelina Homie and such. Branch out into the A listers. That would generate much more media attention. Media boosts ratings..

Anonymous said...

She should go into the city and towns where single mothers and mothers with children are just paid minimum wage for hard work and harsh environments. I could care a less if a woman gets a million less than a man.There are real problems for women out there, and she is suggesting some of this trash reading. What have these women really done to help women who really need help. Sure raise awareness, good book sales- now use that money to really help.
All I see is selfish overgrown children just looking at me and using us to get ahead of the game. This is absolutely disgusting. Emma is disappointing.ME_ME_ME- What she has made aware of at HeforShe was nothing new. We all know that boys have potential identity problems. These are things that each person- boy and girl has to work to overcome in life. The problem is in the family. That is where people need the help. Suggesting these stupid books- fluid gender roles. These people have to live that life. Sure, they should not be persecuted. Nowadays it sometimes seems one is persecuted and mocked for wanting to lead a normal life of marraige, children and faithfulness in a relationships.
The biggest damage to a child is divorce in the family and a child knowing that a parent is cheating on another parent. Now this causes an identity split in a young person. These are the real problems that need to be addressed. I am not Catholic, but Pope Francis got it right when he proclaimed the year of the family and this year the year of mercy. The family needs to help heal. When the family is whole feminism and any other ism is superfluous.
I always liked Emma, but... as an activist Angelina Jolie is the prize. She puts her strength and money where her mouth is.
Emma, help save the family, help stop the killing of the baby in the womb. Through abortion we are destroying ourselves. It is probable that we already destroyed the infant that could have found a cure for HIV,AIDS and cancer. With every abortion potential for the good of mankind is being destroy. Now that is something that really needs to be thought about. That is a real problem. (By no means is this a judgement on a woman or girl who has been raped, but still that is a human life growing in the womb.) If a hollywood star (female) gets a million less than a man is unimportant. Even with that million that person lead a luxurious life. The other is greed! Postering for such equality is shameful. Help the poor woman in any factory get decent working hours and a goo paycheck. Hollywood is shameful when hankering for more when you have more than the average person.
Some will say this is a jealous rant. I am not jealous, but I see other problems other than hollywood stars females getting juicier roles and another million. If they have the real talent, the roles will come rolling. There are enough talented actors out there who have the roles knocking at the door at the minute. Look at Jennifer Lawrence imdb that is because she has talent. Liam Hemsworth complained that he got less then Jennifer.
An opinion

Anonymous said...

For me, the work of Emma as an activist is being disappointing, it is true that there is wage inequality between men and women, but seriously it is worrying that there are actresses who earn less than men? when there are people living with less money, which They have almost no money to survive. There is a lot more important things about gender inequality to win half a million less, when the actors and actresses in hollywood, are overflowing with money
There are women who die at the hands of their husbands, there are husbands who kill their own children to do suffer their wives, there are women that suffer sexually abused .... there is so much inequality against the most serious and important women, I do not agree that Emma is focused only in subjects of Hollywood
She should visit countries where women live really wrong, as Angelina Jolie does, talk about abusethat women suffer ... but no, She prefers to focus on winning more millions as men.
sorry but it seems very superficial Emma's position, when there are so many women who suffer in the world

Anonymous said...

While I agree that Emma's focus on Hollywood is getting a little redundant, there has been progress made towards gender equality because of her and HeForShe. There is video on their Youtube site of her talking about how a man in Zimbabwe started a husbands school for HeForShe, how the President of Malawi annulled 300 child bride marriages and sent them back to school, and how the University of Waterloo decided to give a scholarship for girls in engineering. I'd say that's immense progress. With what's going on in the West, I think she's taking steps to fix issues at home first, like the wage gap and unequal treatment, and then hopefully she'll travel to other countries in the future.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon above, even as I respect your view point, I beg to differ. Malala Yousafzai is doing more through Malala Fund for Girl's rights and education than Emma as an UN Women Goodwill Ambassador with #HeForShe! Someone mentioned Angelina Jolie, and I agree she's a genuine activist, humanitarian and philanthropist. She has had more hands on experience, visited more places, talked to people and donated millions to help women and children in general. Another woman I respect and admire for the same reason is Queen Rania of Jordan.

Not to be too sceptical, but in the country I live in, Emma's campaign of HeForShe has had little credibility/impact so far. I asked my male friends about their opinion regarding the campaign, and most of them actively signed up at the official website pledging their commitment. They said they did it mostly because they loved Emma and wanted to please her. That had been the end of it. It felt so superficial that it just made me angry! I couldn't help wondering if it's like this for most men who 'pledged their commitment' by clicking on a 'button' and then go about their life normally. When #HeForShe was launched way back in July, 2014, I remember the craze it had generated on all social media platforms, especially Twitter, what with all the celebs posting pictures holding the hashtag #HeForShe! People joined in, praised the campaign, endorsed it openly, pledged their commitment! Almost 2 years since then, gender equality is moving at a snail's pace and the main focus of it has been on the West! Now the real question for me is, would the brand of HeForShe have survived without the stardom of Emma Watson championing it? Would it, for instance, be as popular if it had been launched by someone like Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka? Would my friends still be committed to it?! From my personal experiences, I'm sad to say No! But like the Anon mentioned above, even a little change heforshe created is STILL a change, and it would make a difference to someone out there. I only wish it had created a lot more impact to be able to make a difference to a lot more women!

Anonymous said...

Such annoying Anon spammers in every thread with their endless love-hate relationship of Emma Watson as though their life depends on dissing her, Eden, can you block them? Looks like they are the same person or people.

Eden said...

I can't block anyone. And as long as people are not rude, I'm fine with them.

Anonymous said...

Just because you disagree with good criticism does not mean it is wrong. Nobody hates Emma, but it is right to be critical. I gave my opinion as a social worker out in the field, who deals with children from broken homes and violence at home. I am the one that proposes that help begins in the families. Families are suffering. It makes me angry when any celebrity complains that they got a million less because they are male or female. With all the suffering going on, this is grotesque.

Anonymous said...

I understand what the last anon wanted to say, really, but I feel compelled to respond.
Personaly, as someone who really wanted to go back to University, Emma Watson (in some way) helped me to doing exactly that in promoting the power of learning and curiosity.
She often talks about self-love and self-help wich is in my opinion the first step to be more conscious of the numerous problems of our time. If I am able to be a psychology student today, it is because I accepted that I needed to take care of myself to do the same for other persons.
So, even if I am agreeing with some of the anger and sadness – wich is specially understandable from social workers – I wanted to provide some arguments in favour of Emma Watson's work. I was in a terrible situation where even justice wasn't in capacity to save me… Nonetheless, my friends, my return to University and Emma Watson's speeches were precious supports.

Hmmm said...

On the one hand, I think these criticising comments can be seen as helpful to be aware that - for "idealists" (or people who want to "better" the world) - there are (still? - I think, from a realistic point of view, there will always be) lots of things to do to help people, families, children, etc.
So I hope Emma reads the comments above. (Honestly, if you read the first 20 pages of Caitlin Moran's "How to be a woman", you must somehow be sure Emma is (!) already aware of these things since a long time!)

On the other hand, I want to point out that I think it's somewhat 'ridiculous' to believe Emma can/could change all the things mentioned above in one and a half years (movement started Sept. 2014).
It will take some time.

I confess I don't know, but once I read Emma's been facing lots of death treaths, maybe this is one reason she prefers to empower change in a different form lately.
Furthermore, maybe she is already travelling but doesn't want to publicize this at the moment, also for safety.

Anyway, I'm quite sure she tries to do her best.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Emma is planning to resume uni. Many celebs have a postgraduate course under their belt. It would help her or anyone else who's keen to improve their abilities : )

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Geena yet I agree that films do a lot to change mindsets of viewers. So does the media, dailies.

Sweam said...

Just when is the first official poster of beauty and the beast coming out?

Anonymous said...

To the anon who go help with Emma's prospects of university. I am glad that it was such a help for you. Young people can help one another by their good example for one another. I also think Emma is a fine young woman and cares what is happening. My criticism was more for any celeb not satisfied with the Million just because a male is getting 2 Million.
No Emma is unable to change the world but like you said a person influences.There are more important issues than more wealth and more female roles when a single mother just lost her job and needs to put bread on the table. How many families have lost their homes in USA because they were unable to pay the taxes? Many people live in cars in the US and on the streets in western Europe. I am not saying that a person does not have a right to be wealthy, but with wealth comes responsibility. I admire J.K. Rowling who lost her billionar status because she donated millions and established LUMOS to make sure to help children who are in homes. Now this woman is truly making a difference. She has a mature plan and is seeing it through.
Like I mentioned, I like Emma and am not against her, but I do believe that she has gotten too loud with nonsense that is not really helpful.