Carey Mulligan Hates the Term "Strong Woman"
At first, the phrase "strong woman" comes off as a term of an endearment, but to British actress Carey Mulligan, it's exactly what's wrong with gender roles in today’s society, specifically in film.
Mulligan, memorable for her role as Daisy in "The Great Gatsby," explained in the feminism issue of Elle U.K. why she's so turned off by the stigma surrounding the term. "The idea that women are inherently weak and we've identified the few strong ones to tell stories about … is mad," she said.
Every time Mulligan gets a script, her role is always the same. She's not receiving scripts for the dragon-fighting heroine or the powerful CEO; she's receiving those that make her secondary. "A lot of the stuff I read is playing so-and-so's wife, so-and-so's girlfriend. That's not where the story is: I want to play him," she said.
Looking at Mulligan's role in "The Great Gatsby," Daisy was the love interest of Jay Gatsby. Despite her huge success prior to the movie, she felt intimidated because of what people said about her when she was cast. Even though the role was essentially to play a weak woman along side a man, online critics said, "She's not pretty enough to play Daisy," which makes us think back to the cringe-worthy saying, "Women should be seen and not heard."
It puts the term "strong woman" into a new context and casts a shadow over women in film in general. Mulligan stated that the problem with it is that the term isn't used equally for both genders. The "strong" is just implied when describing male roles. Mulligan added, "You don't say to men, 'You played another really strong man.'"
It goes to show sexism is still very much an issue in the film industry and the fight for gender equality is far from over.
On the upside, the upcoming British film "Suffragette," starring Mulligan, proves that progress is not impossible and reminds us of a time when women were fighting simply for the right to vote.
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