Jessica Chastain Wants Hollywood To Stop Putting Women In Catsuits

Photo: Rex/REX USA
Jessica Chastain has a bone to pick with Hollywood and how they portray strong women. In her opinion, the studios try way too hard to make female characters who kick ass sexy, by putting them in lots of makeup and tight, revealing clothing. However, shouldn't their strength actually be the sexiest part about them?

In an interview with Radio Times, the actress, who appears in the upcoming films, The Martian and Crimson Peak, said, "If you look at the most incredible female roles, like Ripley in Alien, she is a very sexy woman but she's not wearing a lot of makeup. She's in a T-shirt and jeans. What's sexy about her is how capable she is."

Chastain knows a thing or two about playing a kick-ass capable woman. Her portrayal of CIA agent Maya, in Zero Dark Thirty, managed to bring down Osama Bin Laden wearing little makeup and a wardrobe full of neutral colors. But perhaps because that film was directed by the Oscar-winning female director Kathryn Bigelow, there wasn't that added pressure of the male gaze. Bigelow wasn't shortsighted enough to think that without a sexily dressed leading lady she would somehow be unable to get men in the seats.

"If you look at films like Elektra and Aeonflux, the problem that studios have is that they try to make kick-ass women very sexualized," Chastain explained. "They have to be in some catsuit."

She uses Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games as the best example of a woman who is tough while "not wearing a catsuit, either" and can still carry a billion dollar film franchise all on her own. Clearly everyone loves Katniss Everdeen and her functional wardrobe.

Chastain believes that the studios have "misjudged" their audience, thinking sexy is what sells when most filmgoers want to see a female action hero "who's a capable, intelligent woman and isn't only leaning on her sex."

She even shouted out her own strong female crush: Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. "I remember the opening shot of her in that tank top doing those pull-ups," she said. "And I remember being a little girl watching her and thinking, 'This is amazing. I want to be her.'"

Chastain has always been outspoken about the lack of strong roles for women, calling out Marvel for offering her a "boring civilian" role in Iron Man 3 when she would have much rather played someone like Black Widow.

Most recently she stood by Rose McGowan, who was let go by her agent after criticizing a sexist casting call, tweeting, "Her treatment confirms the misogyny underpinning the industry. She should be celebrated for speaking out."

Chastain should be celebrated as well.
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