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Women Kick Ass at Comic-Con: Guys, Don't Mess with Michelle Rodriguez!

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 22, 2013 at 7:28PM

The actresses on the EW Women Who Kick Ass panel at Comic-Con started off soft and came on strong when moderator Sarah Vilkomerson asks them if they've ever experienced sexism on the job. Have they ever. It was like turning on a faucet as the women compared notes on surviving in what is still very much a man's world. They admitted that while they can act tough on-screen--and train hard to be able to embody what's on the written page--navigating the treacherous entertainment industry requires an equally valuable set of skills.
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Maggie Q
Maggie Q

MR: [Women] are always bickering and fighting when we should be working together to balance everything out, all that destructive male energy.

KS: [On the female 'Expendables'], men can't imagine 15 women fighting together. 

MR: I made video when I was about 10. I looked back on it, 'what do you want to do when you grow up?' I said I wanted to be a boxer. 

TM: When I was a girl I wanted to be a boy because I equated it with strength. As I've grown into womanhood I see how warped that is, to equate male qualities with strength instead of our own female qualities.

MR: That's the writers, honey.

DG: I was a loud mouth girl and a jock, I wanted to be a D.A. like Susan Dey ("L.A. Law"), take down the guys in cross-examination, in charge, she took control, feminine power. I realized I wanted to play a lawyer on TV. I was attracted to her power. 

Maggie Q ("Nikita")I got the action box and the ethnic box, it's a very small box they put you in. It's a lot of effort to climb out. At least it's something to climb out of. They think I wake up, brush my teeth and do kung fu. It's a weird thing, minority/woman/action. I do have to show up and have to say, 'you see me as this, you think that's all I am. This is what I'm capable of.'

MR: I ended up boxing myself in all these years, not doing things I was not comfortable doing, my corner is so tiny little-tomboy-in-hollywood weird. You got into the game 13 years ago to be a writer. These dudes don't get it, don't see the beautiful women who climb mountains, the beautiful stunt doubles who do back flips into the ocean, who ride horses. We have to write about it cause nobody else will...80% of the writers in Hollywood are dudes. You're not female, you don't know what it's like to be one, to write 80% of roles for women. I'm asking women out there to come up with some cool stuff for women!

Hollywood's media images and the world:

MR: Chicks have to come up with their own content, start production companies. Compete with the guys. Girls work with each other, they're better at it... Who gives a rat's ass if the director doesn't respect the movie? It's not how big the franchise is, that's meaningless if the girl isn't respected. They're perpetuating the same treatment of women around the would. Our movies make it global, we can't perpetuate that kind of image of women worldwide. It's stupid and outdated and not the world we live in today.

Today the market is global. America [box office] is 25% of the rest of the world. You only see women in sci-fi in 'Star Trek' or 'Fast & Furious,' the only action movie franchise with a lot of ethnic characters...I am basing my writing on global empowerment, the eccentricities of our reality, Let's put dumb stereotypes behind us. We'll have bigger fish to fry in 25 years. 

MQ: But movies and TV set the trend for the world. We have so much power. 

DG: We are just as capable of carrying a universal audience. The guys in the room don't get that. Also the story of immigrants living in America, they have stories too, which are neglected... I grew up Zimbabwe. Women in far less stable societies, we grew up on American shows. I watched 'Girlfight' in Zimbabwe. There is something we're projecting to the world. Media image is America's biggest export, what we are putting out, the buck stops with us. Sometimes we have to bring consciousness. They've been allowed to do it so much, he's functioning within his privilege and outside of his consciousness. And I have to bring it to him. 

TM: Images are fed to us. Men are brainwashed into thinking, 'this is the kind of woman I should be attracted to.'

KS: Being blond and tough, I've been told so many times, 'blonde girls are not tough, nobody will believe a cute little blond girl can beat somebody else.' They want me to be androgynous. It's a crazy business. 

DG: Even when we do sit in the same room as the writer, they say, 'can we really sell that?' It's a constant struggle, we can't let any of this stop us! Bigger barriers have been broken and we have to keep coming!

MR: Get a hedge fund on Wall Street! 

This article is related to: Women in Film, Tatiana Maslany, Michelle Rodriguez, Maggie Q, Comic-Con


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