Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Film
8 December 2017updated 02 Aug 2021 12:14pm

2017 was the year women’s voices were finally heard in pop culture

When women’s stories are respected as much as men’s, it results in diverse, exciting work.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Gwyneth Paltrow. Angelina Jolie. Lupita Nyong’o. Romola Garai. Rose McGowan. These are just some of the women who have spoken out about their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. It’s been an extraordinary year for women in culture: rumours of violence persisting around figures such as Harvey Weinstein are finally being addressed. Women are finally being heard.

The story of sexism in Hollywood extends beyond sexual violence. The writer and actress Rashida Jones recently left her role as a writer on Toy Story 4 due to Pixar’s discriminatory culture. Studio head John Lasseter has been accused of unwanted advances, but Jones resigned because of a creative culture that repeatedly dismissed the voices of women and people of colour.

When women’s stories are respected as much as men’s, it results in diverse, exciting work. Many of 2017’s cultural highlights have been the result of women fighting back against patriarchal systems in entertainment. The HBO series Big Little Lies dominated this year’s Emmys (as did The Handmaid’s Tale): it was made by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, which the actress set up specifically to address a lack of compelling female roles. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird has become Rotten Tomatoes’s highest-rated movie of all time; Gerwig made the film “to offer a female counterpart to tales such as The 400 Blows and Boyhood”. Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi explored an experience that now looks eerily similar to accusations made against Louis CK, a storyline she hoped would draw attention to systemic sexual harassment in comedy.

If 2017 has taught us to listen to anything, it’s the stories of women, both on and off camera. 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A weekly round-up of The New Statesman's climate, environment and sustainability content. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

This article appears in the 08 Dec 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas special