Barbra Streisand opens up about battling Hollywood's Boys' Club
The actor-director spoke about all things Hollywood, along with a little bit about her political views on the current government.
The Oscars have a notorious history of snubbing female directors, and one of their victims was Barbra Streisand. She was naturally upset about it, but ultimately fine when the Motion Picture Academy failed to nominate her for 1983’s 'Yentl'.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Streisand spoke about the infamous Hollywood's Boys' Club, and how she battled it in her own way.
“It was strange,” told the publication in the interview at her Malibu estate. “I didn’t mind it for one reason: It really showed the sexism. I thought by not being nominated, I put a spotlight on the issue. I thought, ‘Wow. This is so transparent.’”
As the 90th Academy Awards ceremony gets ready to unfold on March 4, there’s no doubt that women are finally regaining control of their own narrative. There’s been an unprecedented reckoning with the #MeToo movement and the firings of powerful, high-profile men accused of sexual abuse and harassment, such as Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose.
Although many women in Hollywood have horrifying stories of sexual harassment, Streisand isn’t one of them. “I wasn’t blond enough,” she says.
She didn’t know about Weinstein’s predatory behavior, although she had a bad experience with him. “I thought he was vulgar,” she says. “He wanted me to come there on his arm and sing a song on the album,” she added.
“I said, ‘No. I can’t do that.’”
After she turned him down, he threatened not to work with her on future movies and that he wouldn’t be sending her any of his releases to screen at her home. “That kind of stupidity. So I thought he was a boorish guy.”
Streisand is equally unhappy about the mistreatment and inequality of women in Hollywood, coupled with the negligence of an industry that has failed to create added opportunities for female filmmakers.
In her long-pending memoir, Streisand devotes a chapter to “The Boys’ Club.” When asked about her much-awaited book's release, she said, “I have no idea.”
“I have a line in one of my journals,” she said. “It was actually about how we’re giving you” — nodding at her male interviewer — “the benefit of the doubt that we’re equal. I think women are more powerful than men.”
“I didn’t know it was a glass ceiling,” she says about her decision to step behind the camera. “I just thought, they don’t believe in a woman’s capacity to handle finances or to be the businessman. Years ago, I was told, ‘You want control? A woman wants control? That’s crazy!’”
The devout Democrat also took up the chance to eviscerate US President Donald Trump in the two-hour long interview.
“He embodies the nasty remarks he makes about other people. He’s a liar. He’s crooked.”
“Everything he called Hillary, he is,” she said. The star was with presidential candidate Clinton in 2016 at the fundraiser where she slipped up and called some of Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables.”
Streisand has since had other conversations with the first female presidential candidate and doesn't believe Trump won the elections fair and square. “I said to her the last time I saw her, ‘You were just too smart.’”
“I really believe she won the election,” Streisand said.
“I’ve talked to senators from Michigan and Wisconsin. I do believe like I believed during Bush, they were playing with those voter machines. And [Al Gore] lost by 537 votes out of 104 million. And now, in retrospect, Bush looks quite good compared to Trump. At least he’s not mean-spirited. He’s not a guy who is retaliating for what Obama did at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”
Streisand isn't the only one who's opened up about the Hollywood Boys' Club. Celebrities like Kate Hudson and film writers such as Lindsey Beer, Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Amanda Silver have also previously spoken about this notorious regimen in the film industry.
“We’ve been fighting the boys club for many, many, many years,” Hudson told the New York Post previously. "That being said, I’m comfortable in the boys club, but at some point, we just now need to start talking about how the pendulum needs to shift."
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