How Olivia Wilde Reacted When Her Son Picked Up A Baby Doll

Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.
For a feminist mama like Olivia Wilde, something as simple as watching her son choose a toy can turn into a revelatory moment, one of self-reflection about gender stereotypes and silent assumptions.

"My son yesterday picked out a little baby-doll toy, and my first reaction, that I didn’t voice, when I first saw that he was holding it and kissing it and loving it, was like, 'Oh, it’s so funny he picked out a little baby,'" the actress told The Huffington Post in an interview released today. "Then I thought, 'Don’t laugh. It’s not funny. Let him do it!' And he’s walking around, kissing it, loving it, taking care of it and I was like, 'Wow, it starts this early. He’s 1!'" She continued, "Our reaction to him now is how he’s going to react to the world, so we have to change the way we talk to kids and then change the way we create art."

And that's exactly what Wilde aims to do. Working on her latest film Meadowland, out in theaters October 16, the 35 year-old actress witnessed how ridiculously difficult it is for a talented female director to get a film green-lit. "I was shocked at how hard it was to get financing based on her résumé."

But Wilde believes that's changing, thanks to the fact that "there’s a huge audience asking for that material," as well as the recent attention brought to the issue of sexism in Hollywood by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Viola Davis.

"[Studio backers] need to understand this massive movement that’s saying, 'We love films starring women, the world loves films starring women and directed by women and produced by women, so don’t be afraid to invest in those projects'...if we continue to support films directed by all types of people and starring all types of people, that’s what makes the change."

Another way Wilde thinks we can all contribute to the movement? Raising the next generation to see things differently — as she reminded herself to do when her son picked out a "girl toy."

"Now, it's raising this new generation of women who are told, 'You don’t have to put up with this, you can play any sport you want, you can have any job you want, you don’t need to play with Barbies that look like that.' I believe there has been a shift in the way we raise women from the beginning, and early-childhood education for both men and women is what’s going to change that institutionalized sexism."

Read more of Wilde's smart takes on issues of women's equality in and outside of Hollywood, below. For the full interview, head over to Huffington Post.

On working with a female director (Meadowland's Reed Morano) after working with so many men throughout her career
"[T]here was this confidence from her that felt to me like a very woman-to-woman, confident sisterhood, as opposed to what can be a more patronizing relationship from some male directors who are so conscious of their power over you that they can sometimes underestimate your intelligence, strength, or bravery."

On how she applauds women who are saying "no" to the sexism we've become so accustomed to
"You know, because it is institutionalized, I think all women have encountered overt sexism routinely, and yet we aren’t shocked by it enough to draw attention to it because it’s something that is institutionalized...but I applaud those who have started to say, 'No, that’s bullshit, pay me just as much as my co-star got paid.' The expectation for women to just let it slide and just understand "this is how it goes" is waning."

On meeting Tilda Swinton and aging in Hollywood
"Tilda was so gracious with me and said, 'I do not envy you being a young actress forced to be the ingénue. You must feel so much pressure.' And I thought, Wow. We’re accustomed to thinking that aging actresses are so envious of the young ingénues and that being an aging actress is so sad. Bullshit. She made it very clear to me at that moment how liberating getting older is because you are no longer trying so hard to be everything to everyone...and she’s absolutely right: I am so much happier now being too old for those ingénue roles. I like playing people who have some fucking history and who’ve been through some shit."

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