Rossum took to Instagram today to share a photo of herself wearing a towel, and not as a joke. She's wrapped in a towel because she was in the middle of acting in a scene in Shameless, but was also directing the episode (think of how Lena Dunham both directed in and starred in Girls). We love seeing her perform multiple roles on the set of Shameless, because she's a powerhouse who can act and direct and sing — a true talent who breaks barriers for other women in the industry.
That said, we can't help but notice the irony that this photo represents. Rossum is an accomplished actress who is also directing the show that she stars in, and is wearing a towel, because that's how women are portrayed in media. It's representative of many struggles that women working Hollywood find themselves fighting: being forced to display their bodies while they work for hours on set and fighting to be taken as seriously as their male colleagues. If a picture could tell a story, Emmy's Instagram snap in a towel is worth a thousand words. Especially since Rossum was once reportedly asked to audition for a show by showing up to the casting in a bikini, even though the character's costume didn't call for it.
Yes, we hear the criticism that caring about sexism in Hollywood is a luxury issue. Even when we take into account the pay inequality, stars are still paid a lot of money for their work. They're given free clothes and travel and all sorts of goodies just for being famous. But when we don't pay attention to the very real, and sometimes very dangerous issue of sexism and misogyny in the entertainment world, we ignore an industry where lots of women work — even if they don't have their names in shining lights.
Famous stars who open up about their troubles only make it easier for less-famous workers to report untoward behavior. Media and entertainment are a reflection of the things we can about most in our culture, and if we truly cared about treating women equally, our pop culture would mirror this value.
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