Image: Anne Hathaway for Elle Magazine. Image source.
It’s no secret that we are all influenced by internalised misogyny on some level. It has become such an unspoken aspect of our patriarchal reality that we often don’t even realise when it’s going on. So while it’s great to see so many women actively fighting the patriarchy on a daily basis, it is sometimes important for us to confront our own internalised bias as well. That’s exactly what actress Anne Hathaway has done recently in an interview on Popcorn with Peter Travers.
Speaking with Travers, Hathaway spoke candidly about her own internalised misogyny and says she regrets the way she has treated some female directors in the past. In particular, the actress discusses her relationship with One Day director Lone Scherfig. “I really regret not trusting her more easily,” Hathaway explains of her experiences making the 2011 film. “And I am to this day scared that the reason I didn’t trust her the way I trust some of the other directors I’ve worked with is because she’s a woman.”
“I’m so scared that I treated [Scherfig] with internalised misogyny and I’m scared that I didn’t give her everything that she needed or that I should have because I was resisting her on some level.” Hathaway adds that this issue is something she has thought about a lot and that she has noticed a difference in her own reactions when she receives scripts to be directed by women, as opposed to those to be directed by men. “When I get a script [and] I see [it’s] a first film directed by a woman, I have in the past focused on what was wrong with it. And when I see a film directed by a man, I focus on what’s right with it,” she says.
Hathaway is visibly distressed discussing this issue and admits: “I’m getting red talking about this, it feels like a confession, but I think it’s something we should talk about.” When asked if she thinks that this is the result of training or upbringing, the actress responds that she isn’t sure and doesn’t feel it is her place to say. “I can only acknowledge that I’ve done that and I don’t want to do that anymore,” she says. “And maybe me talking about it could make someone else think [about] whether or not they do that.”
Even more interestingly, Hathaway confesses that before she realised her own bias, she tried actively to work with more female directors — “and I still had this mindset buried in there somewhere.” When Travers responds that she’s going to eradicate that today, the actress says “wouldn’t that be something; if that was all it took?” He acknowledges that more people in the industry do need to confront this issue in a similar way to Hathaway though, especially given the fact that women already have far greater mountains to climb in order to have their work recognised in Hollywood.
Travers also points out the fact that men are allowed to have failures, while women tend to be harshly vindicated for the same foibles. This is the reason why Hathaway says she feels it’s important for us to talk about these issues and that she intends to call Scherfig to apologise. Although the director was deep in pre-production at the time of this interview, a representative told ABC: “She asked me to express her love and admiration for Anne and her work.”
Interested in this? You can read more about sexism in Hollywood here: