Cameron Diaz has admitted that she used to laugh off misogyny in the film industry because it enabled her to get through her career “unscathed”.
The retired actress said that the #MeToo movement would have helped her stand up to such prejudice had it surfaced during the peak of her career in the ’90s and ’00s.
Speaking on Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers podcast, Diaz explained that she took on roles in franchises including Shrek and Charlie’s Angels because they subverted “typical” narratives about women, although she admitted that in reality she didn’t do enough to speak up for herself and her female contemporaries.
“I certainly didn’t do as much as could be done now, because of the awareness of everybody, #MeToo,” she said.
“There were still parameters. The 1990s, the early 00s – there was still heavy, heavy misogyny. The level of exploitation… it just laid on the entire industry.”
Visage then said how the industry was so rife with sexism that she would usually laugh off it off. Diaz agreed: “It was the normal thing to do to [laugh] and just be able to get through unscathed.
“Be the one who participated enough to make everybody feel taken care of but not to be a victim in that position. To know how to navigate the whole thing because it was happening all day, every day in every little feeling of layers of existence. It’s a very different thing now, I think,” Diaz added.
Elsewhere in the interview Diaz said that fame made her feel like a “child” because you “can’t do anything for yourself”.
“Fame is very infantilising,” she said. “They treat you like you’re so precious you can’t do anything for yourself, everything should be done for you… It very much takes away from your own sense of autonomy and ability to take care of yourself.”
Last year the actress explained why she decided to retire from the profession in 2018.
Diaz, who last starred in the 2014 remake of Annie, appeared on Kevin Hart’s talk show Hart To Heart last August where she opened up about stepping back from Hollywood to self-manage her life.
“When you do something at a really high level for a long period of time, when you’re the person that’s sort of delivering on this one thing, everything around, all parts of you that isn’t that, has to sort of be handed off to other people,” Diaz said.
“Just, the management of me as a human being… Cameron Diaz is a machine. But for my personal, spiritual self, I was realising that one part of me that functioned at a high level wasn’t enough.
“It’s fun to do, I love it, I love acting, I could go forever, I sometimes feel like I have unlimited energy and inertia. I just looked around and there were so many parts of my life that I wasn’t touching and that I wasn’t managing, and I couldn’t really manage, because everything was so massive.”