I was at an audition recently, a dance audition for a part in a major TV show, and it is fair to say there was no love between any of the women in the room.
Which leads me into the million dollar question: Where has sisterhood gone? I am an actor (They don't like it when you use actress, I really don't care), I am also a business women, a writer, a daughter, a friend. I do not have an actual sister. I am over expecting women to give me a hand up in my acting career. In business, maybe. In writing, very probably. I have had advice from other female writers. But the acting? No, there are far too few roles. They put so much pressure on us to be young and thin that it feels like we end up hating each other. The patriarchal society wins again - but only because we let it.
Which is a shame, as I think one of the reasons that I have the luck to be a working actor is because of how I relate to other people. I have given advice to a lot of women wanting to be actors. Both younger and older. Some of them do not even know what Spotlight is. For the non theatrical amongst you, Spotlight is an online directory of actors. Most castings come through it. If you are an actor who is not on Spotlight, success is about nil.
I can't say I have felt the same back. I mostly feel that the more successful I become, the more other women hate me. Not just jealousy, I hate jealousy but it's forgivable - no, actual hate. They hate me for being younger than them, thinner or for having a better agent. I did a bit part in a very popular show recently and one of the main actors, a female, incredibly famous, some might say an institution, was so horrendous to me I questioned my life choices. Why spend your life on a film set with jerks? I could be travelling around America, doing aid work, writing a book. But, no, I am having lunch when a millionaire, far more powerful than me, who is trying to get me to move from the seat I am on because she wants to sit there, and then huffs off with her cronies when I refuse. It's Mean Girls - with middle aged women.
Then there is the younger women, or the ones my age. I went to an audition only to see a (now ex) friend. It was the third or fourth time I had seen her at an audition in a few months. She looked horrified as I walked in the door. Loudly exclaimed: "Oh, you're here. You're at everything" and then stalked off. She then preceded to bitch about me to every other women there. I had no idea what she was saying, but none of them would talk to me. There is a bitter sweet end: I got the part.
All of this reminded of me of a quote that I recently read: 'With men it's their enemies that tear them apart, with women it's their friends.' It's depressing because it is largely true. I have a young playing age. I still get cast as teenagers. And nothing is more cruel than a teenage girl. Except maybe an ageing actress.
I was recently told on a film set that: "You will not be beautiful forever, you will lose your beauty, everything will leave you, you will have nothing left. You will become just like me" by a mad foreign actor. I doubt I will end up like you love, as I am not bitter and full of hate. Thanks anyway.
This is not to bring all women down. I got my start in writing through females. I have had advice and friendship. I have an amazing circle of female friends. But it took until my 20s for that to happen. And sometimes I learn the worst of them. I grow up amongst men. The women I tend to not get along with are sensitive. The male ego is more fragile, but sometimes it seems that you can't say anything to a women without her taking it the wrong way. All my female friends are laid back, down to earth, genuine people. I love them dearly. My life would be grey without them. I am aware of my luck.
Unless women stop fighting with each other, stop being competitive and bringing each other down, this will always be a man's world. Because, after all, shouldn't we really be fighting against sexism rather than each other?