Anne Hathaway is getting a lot of praise for her surprising confession about on-set misogyny in a recent interview.
Sitting down with ABC’s Peter Travers, who asked if there was a particular film of hers that stayed with her because of the lessons learned during production, Hathaway surprised everyone with her response.
She pointed to her 2011 film “One Day” and her experience working with a female director (Lone Scherfig), which forced her to confront something she hadn’t noticed before: not just that misogyny exists, but that Hathaway herself was guilty of harboring it.
Hathaway regrets “not trusting [Scherfig] more easily” on set, she explained.
“Im so scared that I treated her with internalized misogyny,” Hathaway said. “I’m scared that I didn’t give her everything that she needed … because I was resisting her on some level. It’s something that I’ve thought a lot about in terms of when I get scripts to be directed by women.”
Hathaway admitted a troubling pattern she noticed in her own behavior. When given a script written by a woman or watching a film directed by a woman, she tended to automatically look for flaws; when looking at the work of men, however, she would subconsciously focus on what they did right.
The first step to overcoming this kind of unconscious bias is to be aware of it and how it affects the work around you.
In Hathaway’s case, it was acknowledging that she may have struggled to trust a director because of her gender. Whether it’s regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or a number of other social and cultural factors, we all have our own biases even if we don’t know it. And sometimes, like in Hathaway’s case, it can even be a bias against your own group.
Acknowledging your own biases can be hard; admitting them publicly can be even trickier, which is what makes Hathaway’s admission so refreshing.
Hathaway hopes her comments will inspire others to more closely examine their own unconscious prejudices. On Facebook, actress Rose McGowan wrote about her own experience with internalized misogyny and female directors.
To unravel our own biases, we need to start with self-awareness. Hopefully, Hathaway’s own honesty will inspire more people to give themselves a periodic bias-check.