In a recent interview with Glamour Magazine, “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson said women aren’t paid what they are worth in Hollywood.
The outlet asked the actress and her co-star Florence Pugh to describe ways they have been their “own allies.”
Johansson, who topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses, earning $56 million in 2019, said, “As a woman, you have to be [your own ally] all the time. Because we are underminded, and underserved, and under-appreciated, and underpaid – you have to be your own ally.”
The 36-year-old said her mother taught her when she was young to advocate for herself because she didn’t want her to experience gender discrimination. “Equal pay is a huge part of that fight,” Johansson said. “Even when I was a teenager in the industry or a young woman, I should say, my mom would have those conversations. Like, ‘why is she not getting (paid the same)?’”
One explanation for the pay discrepancy between actors of different genders could be because male-led blockbusters tend to outperform their female-led counterparts at the box office. For instance, the two most recent films led by new superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were “Black Panther” (2018) and “Captain Marvel” (2019). The former earned more than $700 million domestically compared to the latter’s $427 million.
But Johansson dismissed this idea, saying, “There was always these little key terms, like, ‘bankability,’ and ‘box office draw.’ Those are all terms that are basically masquerading as sexism. It never had anything to do with those things. And if there ever was, it was also part of this systemic issue that a woman could not be as bankable or have a box office draw.”
She then added, “My mom refused that and instilled in me, ‘No, you have to fight that. You’re desirable because of your work and that’s where your value is. It’s in your talent. It has nothing to do with your gender and don’t let anybody make you feel that way.’”
Johansson concluded her argument that by saying she is still in a “constant fight” to get paid what she is worth. “We all are,” she said, referring to women in the entertainment business in general.
This isn’t the first time Johansson has claimed there’s a Hollywood pay gap. In 2016, she told Cosmopolitan, “I think every woman has (been underpaid). But unless I’m addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious. It’s part of a larger conversation about feminism in general.”
She continued: “I am very fortunate, I make a really good living, and I’m proud to be an actress who’s making as much as many of my male peers at this stage.”
Johansson did not comment on whether it is similarly unfair that some of the male actors in “The Avengers,” like Robert Downey Jr., reportedly made considerably more than other male stars, like Paul Rudd or Chris Evans.
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