Scarlett Johansson says women ‘are undermined, underserved, under-appreciated and underpaid’

Black Widow star opens up about ‘fighting that damn fight’ against sexism

Kate Ng
Thursday 08 July 2021 10:32 BST
Scarlett Johansson runs through Black Widow's greatest moments

Scarlett Johansson has opened up about what it means for women to be their own allies while working in male-dominated industries, in an interview alongside her co-star Florence Pugh.

Johansson, who topped Forbes’ list of highest paid actresses in 2019, told Glamour magazine that women are “undermined, underserved, under-appreciated and underpaid” in the film industry.

The Black Widow star said it was her mother who taught her that “you have to be your own ally” from a young age, after “she’d experienced it even more severely than I did”.

Adding that equal pay was a major part of the fight against sexism, Johansson said: “Even when I was a teenager in the industry or a young woman, my mom would have those conversations.

“Like ‘why is she not getting [paid the same]?’ There were always these little key terms, like ‘bankability’ and ‘box office draw’. Those are all terms that are basically masquerading as sexism.”

She credited her mother for instilling in her the drive to push back against sexism, adding: “It’s really a constant fight. I’m still fighting that damn fight. We all are.”

Johansson has been known to call out questions from journalists during press interviews that would not be posed to her male colleagues, particularly if she is asked about her looks, diet or tight costumes.

In one memorable interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Johansson coaches her Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo to answer “sexist questions” she usually receives, such as “What are you wearing on the red carpet tonight?” and “Did you feel much pressure to slim down and go on a diet?”

Johansson’s solo Black Widow film, which premiered around the world on 29 June, is “about the subjugation of women”, she told Glamour.

“It’s a film about women lifting one another up so that they may thrive,” she said. “I don’t think that you can really take that out of this film because it is an ingredient there, and it’s about time too.”

She also described the movie as “inherently female” as it was directed by Cate Shortland, adding that it “sheds light on an imbalance I think that women feel inherently because of how our society has been forever for thousands and thousands of years”.

Black Widow will be out in cinemas on 7 July in the UK and on Disney Plus for Premier Access subscribers on 9 July.

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