Brie Larson is 26. To most of the world she’s still pretty young, but having grown up in the industry (acting since the age of 6, first TV gig at 9), she’s already experienced a world of auditions and callbacks…oh, and sexist bullshit.
You’d think by now we could let our kids go just a little bit longer in their lives before getting that particular nasty taste in their mouths, but then again, our “progressive” society seems to be more about appearances than what’s below the surface. I’m not a total cynic though; I do believe that if we keep the conversation going, if people with a public voice continue speaking out and exposing sexism, racism — all the ‘isms — it will eventually force reaction. It will become less and less acceptable. And there will be more people like Brie Larson who walk into those auditions and say, “Eff you, I’m not doing that to get a job.” The more powerful, recognizable actors who stand up and say, “I will not tolerate this,” the less acceptable the bullshit will become.
Fresh off her Best Actress win, Larson is wasting no time speaking out about her own experiences, and making it easier for those who come after her to follow their instincts. And when I say fresh, I mean in the press room, directly after winning Sunday night. Asked how she learned to stand up for herself, Brie matter-of-factly related the sexist crap that’s shaped who she is.
“In particular, there were many times that I would go into auditions and a casting director would say, ‘It’s really great. Really love what you’re doing, but we’d love you to come back with a jean miniskirt and high heels.’ [These moments were] a real fork in the road.
There’s no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and heels other than the fact that he wanted to create some fantasy. I personally rejected that notion… It always made me feel terrible, because they were asking me to wear a jean miniskirt and heels to be sexy, but a jean miniskirt and heels does not make me feel sexy. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
Learning, for me, what it took to feel confident and strong and take what these people were trying to get to exude out of me, comes from a personal place. And trying to represent in film women that I know, women that I understand, complicated women, women that are inside of me — that became my mission.”
This is one of those we wish she didn’t have to learn so early, but we’re glad she learned so early moments and just maybe, Larson’s statements will inspire other young actors to stand up for themselves. YOU GO, BRIE.