Kristen Stewart isn't a terribly controversial figure. She has been acting for 15 of her 25 years and landed the leading role in one of the biggest film phenomenons of the mid 2000s. She has always maintained a healthy distance from the press, but her latest comments to Variety Magazine are raising eyebrows.
While discussing the gender equality debate in Hollywood, Kristen said the following:
Instead of sitting around and complaining about that, do something. And that's easy to say. Like, f**k, it’s hard to get movies made. It’s a huge luxury. Who gets to just make movies? But that subject is just so prevalently everywhere right now, and it’s boring.Kristen Stewart
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I'm almost always willing to give anyone coming off a press tour the benefit of the doubt. Press can be stressful and and long and it's easy to say the wrong thing when you meant to say a better thing.
This, for instance, is the wrong thing.
As a woman who has had a career in Hollywood for nearly two decades, Kristen Stewart suggesting that female directors, writers, and actresses "do something", severely underplays the barriers that bias can uphold. For example, it's been six years since a woman was nominated for a directing award at the Oscars. No, I don't mean since a woman has won. I mean, six years since a film directed by a woman was even considered. If only all the female directors in Hollywood had done something, maybe they would have been nominated.
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Kristen Stewart saying that movies starring men generate more box office revenue, hence the reason men receive higher pay isn't even an explanation that makes any sense. Female led films actually generate 20% more than male led films so it's not that women don't get paid as much because their films don't make money; women get paid less because film studios don't want to pay women as much as men. What a concept.
Maybe Kristen thinks the gender equality conversation is boring because she has the chance to do a job she loves every day and get paid a ton of money for it. Unfortunately, for the very talented female writers, directors, and actresses who get passed over every day, Kristen's reality is not their own. Kristen does get one thing right in her comments to Variety. She acknowledges that she is "lucky" to have the position that she does.
Kristen Stewart is the epitome of privilege she has been in the industry since she was a child her parents also industry people.— hoes before bros (@wittnsass) January 26, 2016
kristen stewart: stop sitting around and complaining, go do something ok but what are YOU doing? how are YOU using ur privilege to help?— shirley (@ronanllynchs) January 25, 2016
Kristen is lucky. A lot of the time, privilege can cloud how you view and respond to the genuine plight and concerns of others. Perhaps if she had embarked on the journey that so many women and poc go on in creative industries, then it would be clearer to her why these "boring" conversations need to take place.
If there is anyone who should "do something", it's Kristen. She should do something to engage in meaningful conversations that, frankly, 100% concern her as woman in Hollywood. Fund a female led project, pen an essay, use your position to impact change. Do something, Kristen!