One Step Forward, Two Steps Back for Hollywood Gender Equality

Sandler... He's no Pratt.

The battle for equality in the entertainment business continues. This year saw Patricia Arquette use her Oscar acceptance speech to rally support for actresses to earn the same pay as their male co-stars, and 37-year old actresses being told in no uncertain terms that they’re “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year old man. This week Rose McGowan has thrown another piece of evidence onto the “Really? STILL?” pile, when she Tweeted a casting note attached to a script she had recently read.

Ever the hero, Chris Pratt’s latest comments signal a potential change to this ridiculously Draconian state of affairs. Pratt believes that his physical transformation from the slightly-pudgy Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation to the oiled-up gymrat seen in his last two movies is responsible for his career upswing. In fact he now feels “totally objectified.” “But I think it’s OK, I don’t feel appalled by it,” he said. “I think it’s appalling that for a long time only women were objectified, but I think if we really want to really advocate for equality, it’s important to not objectify women less, but objectify men as often as we objectify women.”

Pratt’s opinion comes from a place of good intent, and he seems to be a stand-up guy. To be honest neither gender should be under the microscopic gaze of the other, but then we’d be left without unrealistic idols to look up to. What a horrible world that would be.

What’s (oxy)moronic about Hollywood’s obsession with the standard it sets for women, is how many movies it churns out celebrating the rise of the underdog. The individual who doesn’t conform to pressure and waves their iconoclastic flag with abandon! Change takes time, however, and miracles don’t happen overnight.

While we can hope for slightly more progressive changes, erring closer to Pratt’s brand of equality, there’s still McGowan’s casting note culprit, Adam Sandler. Along with his cast mate Kevin James, the once-funny actor hit the red carpet this week decked out in the attire of an unkempt teenager - while the film’s leading lady wore a gown. Can he be blamed for failing to enforce solid representations of women when he can barely dress himself? 

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