"They Weren't Used to Being the Supporting Cast."

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Recently, actress Olivia Wilde spoke to GRITtv on "The State of Female Justice" for V-Day. (Please read Lauren Chief Elk's important critique of V-Day here, which also applies to much of what Wilde was saying, i.e. she's speaking from the position of a privileged thin white straight cis able-bodied wealthy actress, so her perspective won't be universal among actresses.) I found this part of her address (via Bedhead) really interesting:
I don't know if some of you have been to these live reads at LACMA, where a classic film is read live on stage by actors who just sit and read the script. We did one recently of American Pie, but we reversed the gender roles. All the women played men; all the men played women. And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles — they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments — the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren't used to being the supporting cast.

It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, "It's boring to play the girl role!" And I said, "Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!"
All the mirthless laughter to fill the entire multiverse.

The thing about this exercise is that, once it was finished, the (most privileged) men were able to go back to being fully realized and respected human beings. And the women walked out of the room being "the supporting cast" in their own lives, because that's what systemic oppression does. It reduces human beings who aren't born into undiluted privilege to people whose worth to their mainstream culture is based on their willingness to prop up the very systems that marginalize us.

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