We Heart: Amy Schumer’s Takedown Of Hollywood Sexism

Comedian Amy Schumer’s star has been rising—make that soaring—over the last few months: Not only has her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, received critical acclaim and been picked up for a fourth season, she recently received a Peabody Award for the “smart, distinctively female and amiably profane” program, as the Peabodies described it.

This week, in a brilliant sketch featuring fellow fierce females Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey, Schumer and co. brilliantly skewered Hollywood’s sexist portrayals of “women of a certain age.” The sketch, entitled “Last F**kable Day,” celebrates Louis-Dreyfus’ last day as a sexually attractive woman in Hollywood. Take a look:

As Louis-Dreyfus explains to 33-year-old Schumer, “In every actress’ life, the media decides when you’ve finally reached the point where you’re not believably f**kable anymore.” After that, the roles you’re offered take a distinctively desexualized—and therefore downward—turn. Quips Fey, “You know how Sally Field was Tom Hanks’ love interest in Punchline, and then like 20 minutes later she was his mom in Forrest Gump?” Bingo.

Of course, anyone with eyes can see that the quartet are spot-on with their critique, but there’s even research to back it up: A recent study of women in Hollywood found that under-40 women accounted for 53 percent of characters on screen in the 100 highest-grossing films of 2014, while the same percentage of male characters were played by men over 40. Plus, the percentage of over-50 male characters is twice that of women in their 50s (18 percent vs. 9 percent).

Perhaps headline-grabbing women like Schumer will be the ones to finally turn the tide on this industry-wide sexism.

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Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.