Emma Thompson: Women in film industry are still judged by their age and appearance

Oscar-winner says sexism faced by actresses is 'still completely s***'

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The Independent Culture

The actress Emma Thompson has said that women in the film industry face greater sexism now than when she began her career.

The Oscar-winner told Radio Times that actresses are still judged by their age and appearance. “I think it's still completely s***, actually,” she said. “I don't think there's any appreciable improvement and I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young. So, no, I am not impressed, at all.”

Ms Thompson, who plays a 77-year-old prostitute in her latest film The Legend Of Barney Thomson, said: “When I was younger I really did think we were on our way to a better world and when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women and I find that very disturbing and sad.


“So I get behind as many young female performers as I can and actually a lot of the conversations I have with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent.”

The actress 56, admitted that she was putting a 77 year-old actress out of a job with her latest role but she said was one she found wildly comic and irresistible.

Ms Thompson will take her 15-year-old daughter Gaia to this summer’s Edinburgh festival for the first time, to watch her friends, rising stars Lily Bevan and Jessica Butcher, perform one-woman shows.

“It means a lot to me because that is what I did and I want my daughter to have a look at that and say, ‘Oh, that’s one way of expressing what you need to express.’

“I think she looks around at the prevailing culture and thinks, ‘None of that really applies to me and I don’t get it’ — the magazines, the ‘figure’ culture and the handbags, it’s just absolutely meaningless. So I can’t wait for her to see these women writer/performers.”