Teri Wilson
Updated May 29, 2016 @ 7:37 am
Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the problem of sexism in Hollywood. And it’s about time. Women in movies and on television not only have to fight the wage gap, but they also face ageism and near impossible beauty standards. Oh and if that’s not bad enough, lead roles for women actresses in major films are few and far between. In 2014, only 12% of the top grossing films had a female lead. Things are bad. But the conversation about ageism in the entertainment industry is finally coming to the forefront, thanks to stars like Zoe Saldana, Rose McGowan, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart speaking out.

The latest actress to open up about the realities of the entertainment industry is Kate Beckinsale. In an interview for The Graham Norton Show, Beckinsale talked about what it was like working with Transformers director Michael Bay on the movie Pearl Harbor. And can we just say YUCK…

According to Beckinsale, Bay had a lot to say about her personal appearance. And none of it was flattering. In the interview, she says, “I don’t think I fitted the type of actress Michael Bay the director had met before. I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde…I’d just had my daughter and had lost weight, but was told that if I got the part, I’d have to work out. And I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that.”

She makes a good point. While we live in the era of fitness bloggers and pro-fit Instagram accounts, fitness culture wasn’t a thing back in the 1940s. Even if it had been, we kind of doubt that Kate Beckinsale’s character would be hitting the treadmill on the daily while there was a huge war going on all around her.

But it gets worse, guys. Way worse.

Beckinsale says that during promotional events for the movie, Bay repeatedly cited her appearance as the reason she was chosen for the role. Bluntly put, Bay said she got the part because she wasn’t beautiful.

Credit: NBC/giphy

Um, has Michael Bay ever actually looked at Kate Beckinsale? It doesn’t sound like it, because in her interview she also says, “And then, when we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor’. Then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience’. He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places.”

Gee, Michael Bay. Thanks for your unsolicited critique of Kate Beckinsale’s appearance. And yeah, thanks also for insulting women as a whole by implying we’re so insecure that we can’t handle watching a beautiful woman onscreen.

This is disappointing on every possible level. Props to Kate Beckinsale for speaking out. And here’s a reminder to Hollywood: Women are more than their looks.