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Emma Thompson: Sexism in Hollywood Is “Disturbing” and Just Getting Worse

Emma Thompson sexism in Hollywood
 Karwai Tang/WireImage

She is woman, hear her roar! Emma Thompson sounded off on sexism in Hollywood in a new interview, reflecting on the status of actresses in her decades in the industry.

"I don't think there's any appreciable improvement," Thompson, 56, told Radio Times of the way that Hollywood treats women now, as compared to 30 years ago. "I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young… I am not impressed, at all. I think it's still completely s–t, actually."

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In the interview (via The Guardian), the Oscar winner goes on to draw on her decades of experience in entertainment, which began in the 1980s. In recent years, the British star has seen herself aged into a different subsection of roles, and she's hardly alone. 

"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," Thompson continued. Her stance is supported by recent incidents, such as Maggie Gyllenhaal revealing this past May that she was told, at the age of 37, that she is "too old" to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man.

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"I get behind as many young female performers as I can," the Love Actually actress added. "A lot of the conversations 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."

Thompson was previously celebrated by Meryl Streep for her values and commitment to feminism. Streep, 66, paid tribute to Thompson at the National Board of Review gala in January 2014, comparing the Saving Mr. Banks star to that of the film's inspiration, Walt Disney

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"Ezra Pound said, 'I have not met anyone worth a damn who was not irascible,'" Streep began. "Well, I have: Emma Thompson. Not only is she not irascible, she's practically a saint. There's something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself, because she's a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s a thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience."

"Emma considers, carefully, what the f–k she is putting into the culture," the screen legend continued. "Emma thinks: Is this helpful? Not 'Will it build my brand?' Not 'Will it give me billions?'… She has real access to her own tenderness, and it's one of the most disarming things about her. She works like a stevedore, she drinks like a… a bloke. She's smart and crack, and she can be withering in a smack down of wits, but she leads with her heart, and she knows nothing is more funny earnestness."

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