Actor Katrina Day has collected a series of sexist casting breakdowns for her not-haha-funny new Tumblr Some Lady Parts. Some of these notices read like Craigslist personal ads: “Seeking: Hot Blonde girl … Blonde hair …. classic hot girl.” Others aim for highbrow, but end up unrealistic and porn-y: “Seeking: Ultimate fantasy woman of a sexually frustrated college graduate. Sophisticated, stylish, sexy, intoxicating.” Reading the Tumblr all at once is jarring, a reminder that there are many ways to be sexist — from styling a character as “a typical prostitute” to the many female characters that are not given names.
Day, whose inspiration for the site was a breakdown that read simply “Beautiful Girl (non-speaking),” says, “As a female actor, I feel that I am expected to laugh off any problematic behavior or language I encounter in the industry. That expectation seems to hinge on some very antiquated cliches. You know, the old ‘There are million other girls who would kill for this role!’ and ‘That’s showbiz, kid’. We are expected to not have any self respect, that’s the caricature of The Actress—desperate, shameless, with little in the way of agency or power.” She designed Some Lady Parts, which accepts submissions for both breakdowns and longer tales of navigating sexual politics in the entertainment industry, to give a voice to female actors fed up with (non-speaking) and to “support the creation of excellent, interesting female characters.” Chances are, characters like that will have names besides Girlfriend 1 & 2.
It’s worth noting that, naturally, these casting breakdowns are part of the systemic issue of how women are valued in the entertainment industry. Day says, “At the very moment that I, someone with as little industry clout as it’s possible to have, am reading one of these shitty casting calls, an Academy Award-winning actress is having her private nude photos stolen and distributed around the internet. The same faulty assumptions and expectations are at work in each of those instances. It is assumed that actresses will grin and bear anything, no matter how demeaning or absurd, because they are expected not to know any better or give a damn.” Day’s clout is certainly rising in our sphere, with a writeup in Flavorwire and a continued commitment to pressure the industry by publicizing these sexist casting calls.
I’m happy to fight fire with fire and write some casting breakdowns for “ideal” male roles. SEEKING:
- Leading male, to play role of “Brad.” Please look like a “Brad.”
- Male, Mid-30s, willing to act mid-teens on a network drama and suspend disbelief while delivering ridiculous dialogue.
- Stereotypical male: make us want you and know you’re bad for us.
- Male, typical nerd (heart of gold and slammin’ bod that only we can see.)
- Male to play a Taylor Swift boyfriend.
Male. (Non-speaking.) (Unpaid.) (Can you hand me that coffee?)
Female actors, submit your own industry horror stories to Some Lady Parts.
Original by Leah Prinzivalli