Friday 27 April 2018

Jessica Chastain hits out at ‘strong woman’ character label

The star pointed out that male characters are rarely described in the same way.

24th Annual ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards
24th Annual ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards

By Francesca Gosling

Actress Jessica Chastain has hit out at people who describe her film roles as “strong women” because it implies that women are not strong generally.

She pointed out that male actors are rarely referred to as playing “strong male” characters as she discussed gender stereotypes with her Twitter followers.

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Jessica Chastain on The Graham Norton Show

The US star, who first came to screens in TV series ER more than a decade ago, last year played fictional lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane in Miss Sloane and portrays Catherine Weldon in this year’s Woman Walks Ahead.

The 40-year-old posted on Twitter: “Every time someone writes that I play ‘strong women’ what they’re implying is that most women aren’t. How about I just play well written parts?”

She followed it with: “You never read that an actor is known for playing ‘strong male’ characters because its assumed all men are.”

Chastain warned that the labels can also negatively discriminate against men.

Asked by one follower if she was suggesting men do not have to fight “heteronormative-stud” stereotypes, she said: “Of course they do. Men should be allowed to be seen as sensitive and tender. I can address female roles without ignoring gender stereotypes.”

Responding to a suggestion that the “strong man” stereotype can be linked to male suicide levels, she said: “True. Suicide in men is too high. We need to change how we expect both genders to be.”

Chastain recently made headlines when she thanked her The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby co-star Jess Weixler for sharing her story about being allegedly propositioned by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over “several years”.

Much love to you sister ❤ Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You are a warrior. #Repost @jessweixler ・・・ I'll say I am very grateful I was warned. I had multiple women protecting me with stories. There were several years of Harvey propositioning me, combined with requests for meetings about scripts, and talk of what directors he could introduce me to. Thank goodness I heard enough not to go. Grabbing my arm at crowded parties and telling me my fiancé wasn't invited to be at Cannes when we were there promoting Rigby. Being told he wouldn't be able to get into events if he came. The accounts I've heard of what happened to others are devastating. In a time when the press killed stories and DAs ignored evidence, there was an underground network of women protecting women. And Im just so grateful to the women who warned and protected me.

A post shared by Jessica Chastain (@jessicachastain) on

Posting the article, where Weixler paid tribute to “multiple women protecting me with stories”, on Instagram, Chastain wrote: “Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You are a warrior.”

Press Association

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