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My 9-Year Old Son’s Advice to Dudes in the Film Industry

Driving to the swimming pool, Little M. noticed a billboard advert with Benedict Cumberbatch. Little M. remembered Benedict from one of the Star Trek movies (I’m a big fan of Star Trek) and as any child his age he immediately got excited that he remembered this actor (even though Little M. is dyslexic his brain is mega awesome with facts, plots, storylines and characters and he remembers every single thing, especially when you promise him something).

That journey was a couple of days after Benedict Cumberbatch announced that he wouldn’t star in any movie unless his female co-star gets paid the same amount of money as he is going to get paid. I have to admit that I was impressed that someone of his stardomhood and influence had the guts to say so.

I decided to share that very news with the Little M. to show him what a cool dude Benedict was.  Of course, my statement opened the floodgates to the gazillion of questions the Little M. had about inequality between men and women. His brilliant 9-year old brain couldn’t grasp an idea of two people doing the same job and not being paid the same amount of money.

As a mother and a woman in the entertainment industry, I took upon myself the hard task of explaining to my son why women are underpaid in the entertainment industry (I’m sure women are underpaid in many more industries but since this is my area of expertise I’m going to stick to the entertainment).

I gave him all the best excuses I could come up with; I told him about years of oppression (he will have to learn that sooner or later); I told him about the fact that according to many gatekeepers women can’t handle pressure and their big productions underperform in the box office (he knows what the box office is and before going to the cinema checks ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. A typical industry kid.); that women are… then I ran out of ideas. However, he still was unconvinced about the pay gap, and finally, he asked: “Don’t those men understand that women are just like them and work as hard as them? If someone works as much as someone else they should be paid equally.”

So my question to all the gatekeepers in the film industry is: Don’t you understand what a 9-year old child can understand? Or maybe, just maybe this pay gap difference is all about the power? I know you like having power over women; I know you do but luckily for us, your time is ending.

However, if you are having serious difficulties understanding the concept of equal pay regardless of: gender, religion, skin colour or nationality I invite you for dinner and my son will happily explain to you the whole concept and I’m sure he will use his Lego blocks as props if you will have a hard time getting your head around that scary idea of paying women the same as men.

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