06/19/2013 06:00 pm ET Updated Jun 20, 2013

Jennifer Westfeldt Talks Sexism In 'New York Times' Interview


If Jennifer Westfeldt had taken the sexist comments she received as a young actress to heart, she might not be in the position she is now.

The actress will star as the heroine, Phyllida, in Nell Benjamin's play “The Explorers Club,” opening this week in New York City. At one point in the play, a male character tells Phyllida, a scientist: “Your science is adequate, but your sex is weak with sin and led astray with diverse lusts. No offense.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Westfeldt told Alexis Soloski that she encountered similar comments early in her own career. When she tried to pitch ideas for the television show “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," her suggestions were met with “that pat-on-the-head thing.”

Sadly, Westfeldt's experience with sexism in the entertainment industry does not seem to be an anomaly. In February, British actress Thandie Newton told CNN that she had been "objectified to an extreme" in the early days of her career. A study released in June showed that women in Hollywood were underrepresented both onscreen and behind the camera.

However, Soloski notes that the actress largely focused on the positives during their interview:

"[Benjamin and Westfeldt] much preferred discussing the support each had been given and praising their pathbreaking colleagues in the entertainment industry. They cited the likes of Lena Dunham and Kristen Wiig, and spoke of Tina Fey in tones appropriate to the worship of a minor deity."

Click over to the New York Times to read more.



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