After helping to turn herself into a sex symbol, actress Scarlett Johansson now regrets ever being “hyper-sexualized.”
Speaking at a Hollywood Reporter actress roundtable with Jennifer Lopez, Renée Zellweger, Lupita Nyong’o, Laura Dern, and Awkwafina, Johansson reflected upon the variety of roles women can now play compared to yesteryears, when they were allegedly just sex symbols.
“It’s so different now, the climate is so different now,” Johansson said, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The actress went on to blames this sexualized image of her on a “bunch of dudes.”
“I feel when I was working in my early 20s and even in my late teens/early 20s, I felt that I sort of got, somehow, typecast. I was very hyper-sexualized,” she continued. “Which was, I guess, at the time, seemed OK to everyone. It was another time. Even though it wasn’t a part of my own narrative, it was, kind of, crafted for me by probably a bunch of dudes in the industry. And I guess that worked then, but it was really difficult for me to try to figure out how to get out of being an ingenue or the other woman because it was never anything that I had intended.”
After all this sexualization, Scarlett Johansson said she thought of pursuing a different career in Hollywood that would “be more fulling [because] there seemed like there was nowhere to go.”
Johannsson changed her opinion after starring in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” in 2009, which she claims “totally reset my whole way of thinking about how I could work and the different kind of opportunities that could be available to me.”
“It’s amazing how theater is limitless,” she said. “Even though it was terrifying, it was liberating because I actually felt that every night I had the opportunity to change the narrative.”
While Scarlett Johansson may now lament her previous sex symbol status with regard to being typecast, she has recently spoken out on how political correctness has harmed the casting process, as evidenced by the backlash she received after agreeing to play a transgender man in the movie “Rub & Tug.”
“You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job,” she told As If magazine earlier this year. “I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions.”
Johansson added that people should be allowed to have their own feelings and not be forced into conformity. “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do,” she said.
Though not outrightly endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president in 2020, she did say that the openly socialist politician has a tangible strategy for success.
“It’s not like her campaign is making these crazy, outlandish promises that seem impossible to reach. There’s a strategy there,” said Johansson.