Salma Hayek drops serious wisdom about what it will take for women to change Hollywood

Salma Hayek recently spoke on a Cannes Film Festival panel on gender inequality in Hollywood and, as IndieWire reports, the actress had some powerful things to say about the problems women run up against in Hollywood as well as possible solutions to these problems. Combined with Melissa McCarthy’s recent interview in which she sounded off on the image-obsessed industry, it’s been a weekend of actresses taking Hollywood to task for its mistreatment of women, and we love these stars for sticking up for themselves and their gender.

Below, some of our favorite Hayek soundbites from this panel:

On the objectification of women in entertainment

“The only two industries where women make more money than men is fashion and pornography and in those we are treated as sexual objects. This is an ignorant way of looking at who we are…we don’t want to watch things that promote us as sexual objects.”


“It’s simple, plain ignorance. They think the only value we bring to a movie is as an object. The only kind of film where women make more money than men is porno. It’s not funny.”

The disrespect that women working in film experience

“How do they know what we are worth if all the box office success is credited to the male star? We don’t get any credit when the film is successful.”

…And the disrespect female audiences experience

“Cinema undermines women’s intelligence. It’s been doing it for some time now. They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is really incredible ignorance.”

The film industry is behind the times, and needs to catch up with the much more progressive television industry

“Movies are in trouble because we don’t want to see their movies. We lost the beautiful love for the ritual of going to the movies because we now watch content on tv because they abandoned us. They don’t know what we want.”


“They don’t produce it, so we don’t go to see it. Because there were no movies, we started watching TV.”


“We evolved, they didn’t. We are smarter than the chick flicks and romantic comedies they want to sell us.”

The sexism (plus racism) (plus ageism) Hayek has personally experienced

A producer’s explanation regarding why Hayek wasn’t booking roles:

“We can’t take the risk of you opening your mouth and people thinking of their maids. You could have been a big star but you were born in the wrong country.”

Then there was this depressing reality:

“I was a huge star in my country. When I came here I was an extra.”

And, finally, this empowering statement:

“I am  Mexican. I am a woman. I am 48. I am at the bottom in Hollywood but I am working more than ever. I have never been embraced by the studio, I was always outside the system.”

Hayek’s plan for women to take over Hollywood

“We need to show them that we are an economical force. They have not discovered it because they are caught up in their macho stuff. The minute they see the money in this the business it will be instantaneously different.”

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