About

This is a speech given by British Actress Helen Mirren at The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment” breakfast in 2010, where she was the recipient of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award. Her audience was female producers, writers and directors, many of whom mentor younger women. She expresses frustration at women being limited by socially prescribed gender roles, saying “Aren’t you sick of being told what you can and can’t do?” Aside from mentorship, Mirren argues for the importance of economic independence in securing power for women. Quoting numbers that demonstrate the immense buying power of women, she is upset that Hollywood “continues to pander to the 18-25 year old male and his penis.”

Discussion

What are some ways that Hollywood could empower women in the film and television industry? What are some ways that Hollywood could empower everyday women?

Mirren talks about her mother as someone who supported her and told her that girls can do anything. What do you feel the role of mothers and mentors is in the feminist movement?

How and why do you think Hollywood “panders to the 18-25 year old male”?