Anyone who follows Zoe Kazan on Twitter knows she’s one of the most open and honest stars in Hollywood, even writing in the New York Times about overcoming an eating disorder. Now, in a new interview, she reveals some startling truths about the sexism she faces as an actress.
Sexism is pervasive, Kazan said. “I have a lot of girlfriends who are amazing actors,” she said, “and many times we’ve talked about having to go into a room and give ‘b***job eyes.’ You know, be flirty with a director or a producer.”
Though she says she was never actually propositioned by any men on set, Kazan said, “I had a producer ask me on set once if I spat or swallowed. At work.”
The producer in question would then claim he was just joking, Kazan said.
“He’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a joke, ha ha.’ But he was also paying my cheque,” Kazan explained, “and then watching me from the monitor as I made out with another actor – so when he tells me I look good, it feels different. I was in my mid-20s at the time. I was not powerful, I did not feel I could say anything.”
As Kazan has gotten older, that kind of harassment hasn’t been as common. “That has got better as I’ve got older, partially, I think, because I’m better at knowing how to shut that down,” she said. “But it makes you feel guilty, and bad, as if it’s somehow your fault – that you’re somehow giving that person the signal that it’s okay to treat you that way.”
Of course, male actors have a completely different experience, said Kazan. “None of that is stuff that [boyfriend Paul Dano] has to deal with.”