The stars of TNT and TBS’ original scripted series discussed the state of women on television Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
“I started in this business 20 years ago.” said Niecy Nash, star of TNT’s “Claws.” “And what I see when I come on the set now does not it doesn’t look today like it looked then. .”
Nash was joined onstage by the stars and executive producers of “Good Behavior,” “Will,” “Search Party,” “People of Earth,” and “Animal Kingdom.”
Nash acknowledged that there are more opportunities onscreen now for black women, citing the success of actors such as Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson. But, she added, more needs to be done.
“That is wonderful, but the world is much bigger than just black and white women,” Nash said. “But there’s still a lot of women whose stories aren’t being told.”
Referencing the characters played by the woman onstage, Janine Sherman Barrois said, “All of the women on these shows are not apologetic. They’re absolutely unapologetic. I think that’s what you usually see for men. You have the Walter White.”
Nasim Pedrad, who is joining the cast of “People of Earth” for season two, talked about the subtlety of sexism in the television business.
“The big misunderstanding with sexism is that it’s always malicious, and it’s not,” Pedrad said. “It’s just a lot of times out of laziness or being unaware, and that’s why this dialogue itself is important. I’ve been really lucky to work with a lot of men who are feminists, and those are our allies. We need to encourage this dialogue.
Dockery, star of “Good Behavior,” encouraged women in the industry to speak out more.
“For me as an actress in this industry, I find myself just being aware of apologizing for an opinion that I have, or I catch myself going, ‘I’m sorry, but can I just say,’ or, ‘I’m sorry. I just need to point out,'” Dockery said. “And I think, ;What am I apologizing for? I have a voice and a brain.’ And there’s no reason to be afraid to speak out.”