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“I was destroyed, because you can’t unsee something.” Sandra Bullock on the moment she discovered sexism in Hollywood

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Amy Swales
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The conversation on sexism in Hollywood and the gender wage gap is getting louder as more high profile stars speak up.

And Sandra Bullock has now discussed her experiences of discrimination in the industry, describing a film she worked on 10 years ago as “the worst experience I ever had”.

Speaking to Variety as part of their report on the actresses fighting back over the huge disparities in their pay compared to male co-stars, Bullock reveals she felt naive to have believed she was regarded as an equal before experiencing “blatant” sexism on set, and was “destroyed” by the revelation.

sandra bullock gravity

Sandra Bullock in Gravity in 2013

Without naming the film, the star explains: “I found myself yelling and being angry. And I was like, ‘What is happening to me?’ I was literally fearful. And I realised, it’s because I’m female. It dawned on me. At that day and age, at that point in my career, it was the worst experience I ever had.

“I was destroyed, because you can’t unsee something. Was I so naive up to this point to actually think that I was on an equal level with everybody? It was the way I was being treated, because I was female, versus the way others were being treated […]

“I’ve had other subtle experiences, but nothing that blatant. It was a big eye opener, because it wasn’t just men on women. A lot if came from women as well. The blessing of that film was that it opened my eyes.”

sandra bullock premiere 2015

Bullock has spoken out about her experiences of sexism in Hollywood

Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman and Bradley Cooper are among the stars to have spoken about the wage gap recently, since last year's Sony email hacking revealed the massive differences in pay between male and female stars.

While Lawrence addressed the fact that Hollywood wages are phenomenal and their multi-million pay packages are unrelatable to most of their audience, she pointed out the inequalities in the way women are perceived when asking for a pay rise compared to men. She said she was aware of being labelled “difficult” or “spoiled” if she argued her corner too vociferously.

Bullock says she believes there's a much bigger issue at hand outside of the money they bank per film.

“I know we’re focused on the money part right now. That’s just a byproduct. I keep saying, ‘Why is it that no one is standing up and saying you can’t say that about a woman?’ […] I always make a joke: ‘Watch, we’re going to walk down the red carpet, I’m going to be asked about my dress and my hair while the man standing next to me will be asked about his performance and political issues.’

“Once we start shifting how we perceive women and stop thinking about them as ‘less than,’ the pay disparity will take care of itself […] I’m glad Hollywood got caught."

Find Bullock's full statement here, and Variety's article here.

Images: Rex Features