With a Golden Globe and two prestigious Olivier Awards under her belt, Ruth Wilson truly is taking Hollywood by storm. From her portrayal of a misunderstood psychopath in Luther to her award-winning depiction of a waitress struggling with the loss of her son in The Affair, Ruth’s decision to take on strong, complex female characters reflects her pragmatic view towards the role of women on screen.
In true ‘Reel Woman of the Week’ style, let us take a look at some of Ruth’s words of wisdom around gender disparity found in Hollywood sex scenes, coupled with the importance of strong female characters on screen.
From her interview with The Edit:
“I have a big concern about how women are treated in the industry generally and how they have to provide the titillation, because penises can’t be seen on screen but breasts can. It’s assumed that women will get their breasts out and have to get their breasts out, and I balk at that. It’s unnecessary and unfair … I argue this stuff all the time, that these [sex] scenes need to be real and they need to have a narrative as much as any other scene. They can’t be purely titillation. So for [co-star] Dominic and myself, every time it came up we asked, ‘Do we need this? What are we saying with it? And how can we choreograph it so that it has something to say – so that we can act within it?'”
“I kept insisting, ‘Why have I always got to do the orgasm face? There should be a male orgasm face. Why is it always the woman who’s orgasming? Let’s analyse the male orgasm. Why aren’t we thinking about that a bit more?'”
From Hollywood Reporter:
“Woman are often seen as the victims and the scarlet lady. Of course in his [Dominic West’s character in ‘The Affair’] version, that’s how I’m sort of perceived, and then in my version, it’s a woman who’s lost a child. I think those controversial characters are the most interesting. You find humanity within that. That’s your job as an actor — to be empathetic to who this character is, and why they do these things.”
“We’ve all been playing in these shows, really interesting women. Conflicted women. Complex women. Who you are is sexual as anything else, so it’s really interesting to bring that into those scenes, and that’s starting to happen, which is really exciting.”
From The LA Times:
“I saw the very first episode of ‘Game of Thrones’. And I was, like, whoa. I just felt for Emilia [Clarke], because she was just naked, topless the whole way through. I thought, that’s her first job … I wonder how much choice she felt like she had.”
“[Men] are not allowed to [show their penis]! You’re not allowed to see it on TV. Women should have a choice and be allowed to express that choice if they don’t want to get their breasts out. There’s an assumption around it, which I think is unfair.”
From The Telegraph:
“If you are going to show sex then you have to try and make it as real as possible … Of course The Affair should have sex in it because sex is a major part of relationships. Major. But then you need to get behind the psychology of it, make it more than titillation.”
“I was just making a comment generally that there’s an awful lot of sex on the TV and it sometimes is not necessary. And what I’ve learned from reading lots of sex scenes is there’s a tendency to rely on the female a bit more to provide that sort of stimulation. A good sex scene is really difficult to do and we’ve seen them all done, so many times, good and bad. So I feel like there has to be justification for why a sex scene exists – just as every scene should exist for a reason. They shouldn’t just be put in there for titillation. That’s my argument and that’s as a woman but also as an actor. I’d fight any scene that doesn’t feel justified.”