Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise.
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise. Contributed

Sexy Thelma and Louise star Geena targets Hollywood sexism

IN 1991, Geena Davis starred in Thelma & Louise, the road movie about two women who become fugitives which critics described as a "feminist manifesto for the 1990s".

But two decades on, the actress is so disillusioned with the film industry's attitude to women she has drawn up a feminist manifesto of her own, with "two easy steps to make Hollywood less sexist".

In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winner bemoaned the gender imbalance in media and called on filmmakers to introduce more female characters into their movies to provide positive role models for the young.

While the gender disparity in some sectors of society would take time to change, she said, there is "one category where the under-representation of women can be fixed tomorrow: on screen".

Davis said that while there were "woefully few women CEOs in the world, there can be lots of them in films".

To help encourage young girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers, more women should be put into those jobs on screen, she said. "'If they can see it; they can be it'."

The actress said she had developed a "heightened awareness" of how women are portrayed in the media after being cast in movies such as Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own, which is about a women's baseball team.

Davis said the first step to add women into projects should be to go through the script "and change a bunch of the characters' first names to women's names", adding that the characters may become "unstereotypical.

What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman?" Another way to boost female presence "without changing a line of dialogue" would be to make sure half of those gathered for a crowd scene is female, she argued.
Her comments follow research that showed currently in crowd scenes only 17 per cent are female on average.