Many women have spoken about their experiences with sexism in the entertainment industry.
Some talked about the focus on their physical appearance while others addressed the gender pay gap.
Listed below are 27 women who have described the sexist situations they've faced.
While movements like #MeToo and Times Up have ignited an international conversation about sexism and gender inequality in recent years, women in the entertainment industry, like many other spheres, have been navigating a male-dominated world for decades.
From being told to get plastic surgery to being pressured to pose nude on a magazine cover, some of the most powerful women in Hollywood have faced challenging obstacles while building their career.
And while women have produced, created, and told impactful stories, the gender pay gap persists. According to Forbes, actresses earned 24.8 cents for every dollar their male counterparts made in 2018, and only 14 of the 100 highest-paid celebrities that year were women.
Here are 27 women who have spoken up about their experience with sexism in Hollywood.
Reese Witherspoon's financial adviser warned her that she'd make "drastically" less money in her 40s.
Witherspoon, who was 37 at the time, recalled the man saying, "You need to start saving right now, because you're going to be making drastically less money in your 40s. Basically, you're not going to have much of a career."
She fired the financial adviser and explained that his comments were one of many sexist remarks she'd dealt with since entering the industry.
Early in her career, the "Legally Blonde" actress said her agents warned her that portraying a mother on-screen would age her and ruin her career.
After she played June Carter Cash in the 2005 film "Walk the Line," Witherspoon said she struggled to find opportunities that excited her.
Her desire to tell women's stories led her to produce her own work and create Hello Sunshine, a production company focused on bringing women's creative work to life, in 2016.
Elisabeth Moss said male executives rejected one of her pitches for being "too female."
Male executives shot down one of Moss' pitches because they deemed it "too female," she told Metro in June 2017.
"It was everything, the fact it was a female lead, a female protagonist, was led by a woman, made it too female, which I was shocked by," she said.
Moss said that the logic behind the decision wasn't communicated directly to her.
"It wasn't said to my face, I would dare a male executive to say that to my face now," she said, adding that she went ahead with the idea, "just not with those people who thought it was too female."
The "Handmaid's Tale" actress also said she's fallen victim to the gender pay gap, saying she's "100% positive" she's received less money than her male costars in the past.
Mindy Kaling said she was stripped of producer credit for her work on "The Office."
Kaling, one of the producers of "The Office," recalled being singled out and removed from the list of producers.
After the show was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding comedy series, the Television Academy told Kaling, the only woman of color on the writing staff, that they were cutting her name from the list.
"They made me, not any of the other producers, fill out a whole form and write an essay about all my contributions as a writer and a producer. I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself," she said during an October 2019 interview with Elle.
The Television Academy released a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying, "No one person was singled out."
In response, Kaling tweeted that she, "the most junior person, and woman of color," was singled out, as other producers on the show didn't have to defend their work.
"I had written so many episodes, put in so much time in the editing room, just to have the Academy discard it because they couldn't fathom I was capable of doing it all. Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers," she said.
Kaling added that women of color shouldn't have to be "bailed out" by their "more powerful white male colleagues." She continued, "Not mentioning it seemed like glossing over my story. This was like ten years ago. Maybe it wouldn't happen now. But it happened to me."
Carey Mulligan recalled feeling "belittled" on sets.
The "An Education" actress said she's felt "lesser-than" the men on set in a December 2017 interview with Vogue Australia.
"I have felt belittled and I think I've felt kind of lesser-than. I've definitely experienced sexism in terms of how I've been treated," she said.
Mulligan added, "When I've tried to assert my opinion on scripts, for example, I feel I've had to fight a bit harder to get my voice heard."
America Ferrera said people asked her sexist questions about her role on "Ugly Betty."
Ferrera played an unstylish woman that landed a job at a high-brow fashion magazine on "Ugly Betty." During a cast reunion at ATX in 2017, she explained that her role on the show led to a string of sexist questions.
"It's funny when people are like, 'Oh, what was it like to play an ugly character? I mean, we never ask men that. You know? We just say, 'What a great performance. Good for you for taking on that character,'" she said.
Ferrera continued to explain that it's "sad" that "the bravest thing you can do is be ugly" as a female actress.
"It's like, who cares? And then what? That's what the show is about. It was about valuing a person for everything that they have to offer beyond the surface," she added.
Rose McGowan was told she'd only land roles if men found her physically attractive.
McGowan has been at the frontlines of the battle against sexism in Hollywood, consistently holding prominent people accountable for their abuse of power.
The actress and director, who was an early accuser of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, opened up about her own experiences in her 2018 memoir "Brave."
Prior to releasing the book, she published an excerpt addressing Hollywood's "evil" treatment toward women, sometimes at the hands of other women, in i-D.
"I was literally told I had to have long hair otherwise the men doing the hiring in Hollywood wouldn't want to f--- me and if they didn't want to f--- me, they wouldn't hire me. I was told this by my female agent, which is tragic on many levels. So, so evil and so, so sad," she wrote.
McGowan continued, "Evil because I took the information from an older woman who was the mouthpiece for what Hollywood wants, and she was right. Sad because it wasn't just the message that gets filtered down to women and girls, I got the direct message."
Zoe Saldana said she often feels "lonely" while filming because there are so few women on set.
The "Avatar" actress spoke up about racism and sexism in the entertainment industry during a January 2017 interview with Time.
Saldana, who grew up with a Puerto Rican mother and Dominican father, said she was "too dark or too light" for many roles in Hollywood.
"I've been disappointed before," she said, referring to representation in movies. "Racism is often used as a plot device. Sometimes it's glamorized."
Saldana, who has started her own production company called Cinestar Pictures, explained that she's often found herself "outnumbered" by men, both on and off-screen, while filming.
"I feel lonely on set. And it's not just that you're the only woman in the cast. There are very few women on the crew. You hardly ever get to work with a female director. Some female producers try to blend in with their male colleagues and won't stand up to them. You're completely outnumbered. And you take a hit in your paycheck as a woman too. I'm so f---ing tired of it," she said.
Halle Berry said that her background in modeling and beauty pageants kept people from taking her seriously.
The "Catwoman" actress, who competed in a string of beauty pageants before breaking into acting, told The Hollywood Reporter that her race and gender made it difficult to break into the entertainment industry.
"It's a hard nut to crack, this business, but that's for anybody. It's not for the weak or the meek. And it was hard for me. I started almost 25 years ago. Television was different, what women could and could not do was different. And being a person of color, I was making a way out of no way. That was quite different than it is today for women of color," she said.
Berry added that her background in modeling and beauty pageants kept her from being taken seriously.
"I had to somehow find ways to shed that persona and to let the industry know that I was to be taken seriously. I had studied acting, I was not just a model who said, 'Oh, now I want to act because what else do I have to do?' It took me years to build that respect within the community," she said.
Gemma Chan said she's been turned away from auditions because she isn't white.
Growing up, the actress saw few Asian women on-screen, she told the Telegraph in 2015.
"The statistics are really depressing. I remember reading some that made me think, 'Oh, you are more likely to see an alien in a Hollywood film than an Asian woman,'" she said.
When she decided to forgo a career in law to pursue acting, she was turned away from auditions because they were "only going to see white people," she said during an interview with Telegraph in 2015.
"It didn't feel like a viable option," said Chan, who has landed roles in "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Captain Marvel."
Jennifer Lopez said that women have to be "much more well behaved" than men.
During a May 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the "Hustlers" actress said that she doesn't agree with people who have coined her as a "diva."
"I've always been fascinated by how much more well behaved we have to be than men," she said. "I did get a moniker of being a diva, which I don't deserve."
Lopez said she's found that women in entertainment become labeled after "reaching a certain amount of success."
She continued to explain that at times she feels "crippled" when speaking her opinion.
"We [as women] are not allowed to have certain opinions or be a certain way, or be passionate," she said.
Emma Stone said her jokes have been taken from her and given to her male costars.
During a December 2019 Rolling Stone interview, the Oscar-winning actress revealed that some of her well-received jokes have been taken from her and given to her male costars, leaving Stone with material that landed flat.
"I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but there have been times when I've improvised, they've laughed at my joke and then given it to my male co-star. Given my joke away," she said.
Stone continued, "Or it's been me saying, 'I really don't think this line is gonna work,' and being told, 'Just say it, just say it, if it doesn't work we'll cut it out' — and they didn't cut it out, and it really didn't work!'"
The "Easy A" actress has also been a vocal critic of the gender pay gap, explaining some of her male costars have had to take pay cuts to ensure she receives equal compensation during a 2017 interview with Out.
"If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life. And this is Billie Jean's feminism, and I love it — she is equality, man: equality, equality, equality," Stone said.
Rooney Mara said she was called "horrible things" for sharing her opinions.
During an October 2015 interview with the Guardian, the "Carol" actress said she's discovered that some of her male costars have been paid twice as much as she has.
"To me, it's frustrating, but at the same time, I'm just grateful to be getting paid at all for what I do," she said.
Mara stated that the sexism in Hollywood goes beyond the pay gap between men and women.
"To me, the thing that's more unfair than the pay is the terminology that's used to describe actresses who have a point of view, and want to have a voice in their life and their career, and what they choose to do," she said.
Mara continued, "I've been called horrible things. If a man was acting in the same way that I was acting, it would just be considered normal. To me, that's the thing I find so frustrating is calling women spoiled brats and b----es. We just want to have a voice in our life, and I don't think that's anything that shouldn't be encouraged in any human."
Gina Rodriguez was told to wear a "tight black dress" to an audition to see if she was "pretty enough" for magazine covers.
During a round table with The Hollywood Reporter in May 2015, the "Someone Great" actress recalled a negative experience she faced while auditioning for a role.
Rodriguez said that the casting team liked her but asked her to return "with a tight black dress." Confused, she said she pointed out that the outfit "doesn't make sense for the character."
In response, the team told her that they needed to know if she was "pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine."
Cate Blanchett expressed her disapproval of negative comments about women online.
When the "Blue Jasmine" actress received the Style Icon Award at the 2017 Instyle Awards, she used it as an opportunity to address the sexist remarks women receive about their physical appearance.
"Women like looking sexy, but it doesn't mean we want to f--- you. No one says to Steve Bannon, 'You look like a bag of trash. Do you want me to throw you out?'" she said.
Fashion, she argued, should be about the person wearing the garment and how it makes them feel, not the person viewing it. And despite the progress that's been made, Blanchett said that people still pick women apart over their looks.
"The comments that get said about what women wear on the red carpet — I mean. If you troll through those trolls on the Internet, just don't," Blanchett said.
Melissa McCarthy said she stopped reading negative reviews about herself.
The "Tammy" actress decided to stop paying attention to negative reviews, which often commented on her physical appearance, she told Entertainment Weekly in May 2015.
"I finally said, 'This is not making me better. This hurts my heart,'" McCarthy shared.
While attending the Toronto Film Festival, she recalled being face-to-face with a critic who wrote a particularly scathing review of her performance, and appearance, in "Tammy."
McCarthy asked him, "Are you the one who wrote I was only a good actor when I looked more attractive and that my husband should never be allowed to direct me because he allowed me to look so homely? Would you say that to any guy? When John C. Reilly — or any actor — is playing a character that is depressed and dejected, would you say, 'Well, you look terrible!'?"
As a mother of two daughters, McCarthy said she's hyper-aware of sexism, calling it an "intense sickness."
"I just don't want to start listening to that stuff. I'm trying to take away the double standard of, 'You're an unattractive b---- because your character was not skipping along in high heels.'"
Kate Bosworth said that filmmakers always cast men before women.
The "Blue Crush" actress said that filmmakers cast men before hiring women "on every single film" during a September 2017 interview with People.
"The one thing I heard on every single film — and I'm telling you there isn't an exception — whenever I'm up for a role, really no matter how big or small, the answer that I always get from anyone who's casting me is, 'We have to cast the guy first,'" Bosworth said, refraining from naming specific projects.
"Every single one, there is no exception," she said, adding, "Unless I'm producing it."
Bosworth has served as an executive producer on films like "Amnesiac," "Hot Bot," and "Nona."
Emmy Rossum said a director asked her to wear a bikini so he could see if she'd gained weight.
Rossum's agent came at her with an opportunity for a role in a "big movie" — but there was a catch, she told The Hollywood Reporter in June 2017.
"I'm so embarrassed to make this call, but there's a big movie and they're going to offer it to you. They really love your work on the show. But the director wants you to come into his office in a bikini. There's no audition. That's all you have to do," she recalled her agent telling her.
Rossum explained: "He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question. And I actually had this moment like, 'Well, how good is the part?'"
After reasoning that there must be a bikini scene in the film, she proceeded with the request, later realizing that there wasn't a swimsuit or nude scene in the film.
"We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your a-- is," she said, imitating the filmmaker and his team.
"Are you f---ing kidding me?" Rossum said. "Last time I checked, I'm not a f---ing model."
At 37 years old, Maggie Gyllenhaal said she was deemed "too old" to play a 55-year-old man's love interest.
The Oscar-nominated actress experienced ageism first hand while auditioning for a role.
At 37 years old, Gyllenhaal was told that she was "too old" to play a 55-year-old man's lover, she shared with TheWrap Magazine.
"It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh," she said.
Vocativ analyzed data about the age gap between male and female actors in 2015, showing as male actors grow older, the age gap between themselves and their female costars widens.
A producer told Mila Kunis she'd "never work in this town again" if she didn't pose semi-nude on a magazine.
In 2016, the "Black Swan" star wrote an open letter in A Plus Magazine saying that she'd been "insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender."
Refusing to be "complicit" any longer, Kunis spoke up about having a producer threaten that she'd "never work in this town again" if she didn't pose semi-nude on a men's magazine.
"I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career, I said 'no,' and guess what? The world didn't end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. What this producer may never realize is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace," she said.
Kunis also recalled receiving an email from a male producer referring to her as Ashton Kutcher's "wife and baby momma." She added that she withdrew from his project.
"If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere," the actress wrote in her letter.
Kerry Washington recalled studios applauding ABC for taking a "risk" by casting a Black woman as the lead on "Scandal."
Washington reflected on the accolades and praise ABC received for casting a Black woman as the lead role in "Scandal" at The Women of Sundance Brunch in 2017.
"Black people consume content more than anybody else in this country, and women are 51% of the population, and so, why do we allow the myth of risk to exist?" she asked.
Washington expanded on her point, saying, "When 'Scandal' first aired, you started to see other studios use the language of taking a 'risk' in casting African American leads."
Because the show was so successful, Washington has been "empowered financially, logistically and professionally" and can produce her own material.
"I love acting and I love my day job, I love it so very much, but becoming a producer, producing 'Confirmation' and starting my own production company, I get to hire other women, people of color and people of the LGBTQ community," she explained.
Brie Larson said casting directors asked her to wear miniskirts and high heels even though it had nothing to do with the role.
In a backstage press room following her first Academy Award win for her performance in "Room," Larson opened up about the sexism she overcame along the way.
"There were many times that I would go into auditions and the casting directors would say, 'It's really great, we love what you're doing but we'd really love for you to come back in a jean miniskirt and high heels,'" she said, calling the decisions a "fork in the road."
"There's no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and high heels other than the fact that you want to create this fantasy, that you can reject," she said. "I personally always rejected that moment, I tried maybe once and it always made me feel terrible."
Emma Watson said her work with the United Nations made her aware of sexism in entertainment.
In a 2015 interview with the Guardian, Watson used numbers to show how male-dominated the industry is.
"I have experienced sexism in that I have been directed by male directors 17 times and only twice by women," she said. "Of the producers I've worked with 13 have been male and only one has been a woman."
The actress also serves as a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, participating in humanitarian efforts around the world. The role, she explained, has opened her eyes to gender inequality in entertainment.
"I think my work with the UN has probably made me even more aware of the problems," she said. "I went out for a work dinner recently. It was 7 men… and me."
Ava DuVernay said she wasn't surprised when she wasn't accepted into festivals early in her career.
When the filmmaker learned that festivals weren't going to accept her work, she said, "Of course you're not," she revealed in the documentary "Half the Picture."
Instead of quitting, the director said she continued to work on her own.
"'I'm going to do it myself. I will do it alone. I don't need you. If you want to join in, great, but I don't need you because this is going to happen regardless,' was my armor in that time," she said.
Jennifer Garner wondered why she's asked about balancing her career with family, while her children's father is not.
Garner gave an impassioned speech about sexism in Hollywood during Elle's Women in Hollywood event in 2014.
Prior to the event, the "13 Going on 30" actress and her then-husband Ben Affleck attended a press event together. Both actors and parents to their three children, they were on the receiving end of very different questions on the red carpet.
"Every single person who interviewed me, I mean every single one — and this is true of the red carpet here tonight, Elle — asked me, 'How do you balance work and family?' and he said the only thing that people asked him repeatedly was about the tits on the 'Blurred Lines' girl, which, for the record, if we're talking about them, they are real and they are fabulous," she said, referring to Emily Ratajkowski.
Garner added, "As for work-life balance, he said no one asked him about it that day. As a matter of fact, no one had ever asked him about it. And we do share the same family. Isn't it time to kinda change that conversation?"
Elizabeth Banks said her agent told her to "get a boob job."
While accepting an award at the Women in Film Los Angeles' Crystal + Lucy Awards in 2017, Banks shed light on the misogynistic comments she's received as a woman in entertainment.
Early in her career, an agent told her to get plastic surgery on her breasts, Banks recalled.
"The first agent I ever met in this industry told me to get a boob job," she said, according to People.
Banks added, "I was so grateful that I didn't have enough money at the time to follow his advice. I also did not sign with him despite that."
Megan Fox said she's "endured some genuinely harrowing experiences" in the entertainment industry.
After Twitter users resurfaced a 2009 "Jimmy Kimmel Live" interview, in which the actress described having to dance underneath a waterfall in a bikini as a 15-year-old extra in "Bad Boys II," people demanded an apology from director Michael Bay and accused him of sexualizing a minor.
Fox released a statement on Instagram several days clarifying some of the stories circulating about Bay, confirming that the director never "preyed upon her." She did, however, say that she "endured some genuinely harrowing experiences in a ruthlessly misogynistic industry."
The "Jennifer's Body" actress continued, "There are many names that deserve to be going viral in cancel culture right now, but they are safely stored in the fragmented recesses of my heart."
Paris Hilton said David Letterman was "purposely trying to humiliate" her during a 2007 "Late Show" interview.
During Hilton's 2007 appearance on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" to promote her fragrance, the host pressed her to answer questions about her time in jail.
On a March 2021 episode of her podcast "This Is Paris," Hilton said her team made an agreement with Letterman ahead of the show that he wouldn't bring up her sentence. Since she'd had a positive experience on "Late Show" in the past, Hilton said she trusted him.
But as soon as she sat down on stage, Letterman asked: "How'd you like being in jail?"
"It was like he was purposely trying to humiliate me," Hilton said, continuing, "During commercial breaks, I would look at him like, 'Please stop doing this. You promised me you wouldn't talk about this. That's the only reason I came on the show. Please don't bring it up again,'"
Hilton added that the interview would never happen today.
"It's such a different world now," she said.
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