Zosia Mamet on why she campaigns for women's rights: “We are too much or too little”

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Amy Swales
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Girls star Zosia Mamet has spoken about her experience of an emotionally controlling relationship in an online essay urging women to speak up and use their voices to help others.

Discussing how her boyfriend at the time reacted to Mamet auditioning for a job that would take her away “for a couple of months”, she describes how he sobbed into her lap and told her: “Your ambition is going to break my heart.”

Writing for, the actor goes on to say that the boyfriend was a director of photography, and as such, was away with work fairly frequently himself, yet would “scold” Mamet for “being needy”.

“As I stroked his hair I wondered for a split second if he was right, if my ambition was somehow bad, if I was a selfish human for pursuing a career so wholeheartedly […]

“[He] was always working, long hours, hopping from one job to the next, never taking a break in between. When I would express any desire to see him, he would scold me for me being needy, saying ‘Zosia. I’m working,’ as if I was a slow child who somehow didn’t understand the importance of being professional.

“And god forbid I would tell him I missed him while he was working because that was just ‘added stress’.”

She adds: “When he put everything he had into his career and left nothing for me or our relationship, he was just doing his job and I should understand. But when I so much as mentioned a career opportunity, I was a heartless heartbreaking bitch.”

As a result of relationships like these, Mamet says she would try and become “less driven”, admitting: “I tried to make myself smaller.”

The star spoke about her experiences of the “uneven scale” to illustrate how in many arenas of life, women’s hopes, dreams, experiences and worth are often seen as being of lesser importance than men’s.

To this end, she also explains how a day of auditions demonstrated to her how the issue manifests itself in the acting industry.

“Once, on the same day, I was given feedback for two separate projects. In the span of one hour I was told, ‘They said you’re too pretty to play the best friend,’ and ‘They said you’re just not sexy enough’,” she writes. “We are too much or too little. We are being held to and scrutinised under truly unachievable standards.”

Mamet wrote for Refinery29 in her position as an ambassador for War Child, explaining that the horrific experiences and constant danger women in other countries face is something we have a duty to try and combat – and described her essay as a “call to arms”.

“To many of us these are the horrors of lands far away […] But as women, we owe it to those living with horrific abuse to listen to their stories, to bear witness to them and help in any way we can […]

“Reflecting on my personal journey, I’ve come to realise the changes that can and need to happen both here at home and globally for women’s rights. I have a voice and I’m gonna use it as a megaphone. Ladies – we have serious work to do.”

Read the essay in full at

Images: Rex Features


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.