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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Hollywood hates women


Anne Hathaway and I hail from the same town: Millburn, NJ. With its notoriously academically challenging and competitive school district, it trains its students to want the same thing — the best. It is so uniquely toxic our former middle school principal wrote a tell-all book about it. Hathaway and I followed similar paths, staring in our high school’s productions and doing everything arts related. While she graduated and ascended to stardom a la “The Princess Diaries,” I find myself here, penning this article.  

Spreading the knowledge that Hathaway was our leading alumna filled me with pride. However, the reaction from others growing up was beyond negative.  

When I would Google Hathaway, I was met with her name in bold letters in some top three most hated celebrities list. There was even a word for it: Hathahaters.  

Why was she hated so much?  

According to The New York Times, “Ms. Hathaway seems to embody the archetypal high school drama geek who cannot turn off the eager, girlish persona, even away from the stage.”  

What was her crime? Being a theater kid.  

I can understand the hatred for the theater kid. After each performance, the cast (all 30 of us) would visit a local diner, ask for separate checks for the minimal food ordered and almost always break out into a song from the musical we had just performed — the most memorable being a spirited performance of “Voulez Vous” from Mamma Mia much to the chagrin of patrons (I have to add that this was at a chic 4 p.m.). 

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While other male actors are praised a la Timothée Chalamet for their theatrical origins, women are left the butt of the joke. Hathaway’s main crime appears being a woman in Hollywood. The film industry’s demonization of some of its star actresses is infuriating.  

When Rachel Zegler came into the news for her comments about her role in Disney’s live action “Snow White,” all of the feelings I had regarding Hathaway flooded back. Zegler gained fame after being selected out of 30,000 auditionees to play Maria in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Now, at the age of 22, the New Jersey native  has faced criticism from various news sources for her remarks.  

“I mean, you know, the original cartoon came out in 1937 and very evidently so.” she shared in a 2022 interview with Extra. “There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her. Weird! Weird. So, we didn’t do that this time."  

The criticism that she is “too woke” and “annoying” seems to be a part of a broader pattern of the media dismissing and alienating talented young women for speaking their mind. 

Zegler had previously commented on taking a role in Shazam because she “needed a job”. She was labeled ungrateful by an army of Tiktok commenters. When Jacob Elordi said something similar, he was labeled “real.”  

For years, I felt the need to hide my love for Taylor Swift. Embarrassed of appearing too outwardly feminine, I would play anyone but her when given aux.  

According to a Medium article titled “This is why you hate Taylor Swift”, “She embodies her outrageous success in a way that just isn’t culturally acceptable for a woman to do. She knows she’s ‘the man’ and she absolutely delights in it.” 

Misogynistic smear campaigns represent one of the darkest undercurrents in Hollywood. It is a disturbing trend where women are targeted and subjected to unfair scrutiny and criticism based on their gender, while their famous male counterparts skate on their reputations.  

This article from 2013 by The Cut burns deep in my soul. It hates on female actresses for “trying too hard” instead of addressing male actors for their racism and misogyny. On Gwyneth Paltrow it reads, “She’s a “rich white woman with an eating disorder turned into a branding opportunity,” critics say. She tries too hard at acts that should be effortless, like digesting”.  

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There is a history of labeling women in Hollywood as “difficult” for advocating for themselves, and despite ongoing efforts for gender equality, Rachel Zegler’s near cancellation serves as a stark reminder there is still work to be done. 

And if being a theater kid is deemed a crime, then lock me up! 

Halie Jasinover (she/her) is a junior studying Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. 

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