Ruth Wilson, who plays Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials and Alice Morgan in Luther, called out Hollywood claiming many in the industry have “no moral backbone.” Not only did she call out Hollywood for its lack of morals, but she also took issue with modern notions of female empowerment.

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials (2022), HBO

Wilson’s comments came in an interview with The Guardian’s Charlotte Edwards.

First, she took issue with some modern notions of female empowerment specifically the pressure to use Botox and how it is being pushed on younger and younger women to try and create a youthful look.

Wilson told The Guardian, “As an actress, everyone does it. Very few resist. I haven’t done anything – yet. But it’s in my head as like, ‘Well, do you decide not to and therefore potentially look older than your peers? Or do you just give in?”

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials (2020), HBO

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She went on to react a recent article from The New York Times that was encouraging women in their 20s to get the procedure in order to prevent wrinkles when they get older. Wilson said, ““I mean, are they joking? I find it so … It’s mad! It’s massive violence.”

She went on to recount past female trends such as Tudor and Elizabethan fashion with corsets and lead-based paint and notes people will look back on modern trends much as they do those, “We’re like, ‘Wow’, today. But in 200 years, they’ll be looking back at images of women now going, ‘What were they doing?’ ‘What is that? You’re blowing your face and lips up.’ Yet it’s a multibillion-dollar industry. And women are part of that industry, perpetuating this ‘empowerment.'”

She would also note that the feminist notion that all women must support each is unrealistic saying, “To expect them all to be supporting each other is kind of unrealistic.”

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter and Lia Williams as Dr. Cooper in His Dark Materials (2020), HBO

Wilson would also criticize social media and its affects on society, “The self is so important on social media, it’s created a very narcissistic society. Everyone is their own famous person; everyone can be the centre of their own world.”

“But it isn’t human. It’s a constructed world. It lacks actual connection or feeling,” she added.

She went on to opine that she’s seen her friends become “obsessed. You can’t have a conversation because they’re looking for the next shot. Everything is, ‘What can I put out there?’ When they don’t get hits, they feel low, not validated.”

Wilson would also take shots at virtue signalers with The Guardian’s Charlotte Edwards noting she mentioned “performative feminism, the performative activism.” Wilson said, “Nothing is real. I don’t believe any of it. No one has real or strong beliefs. They are just dictated to.”

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials (2020), HBO

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While discussing the #MeToo movement and how non-disclosure agreements were used to silence people from speaking out about misdeeds, Wilson gave it credit for initially changing the way agents, producers, and PR people behaved.

“I don’t think there should be any NDAs. If there’s a problem, there’s a problem. It needs to be dealt with, not put under NDA so you can’t speak about it,” she said. “It was a given that you had to sign those things … Even if you were like, ‘What? Really?’ They were like, ‘That’s the way it works.’”

She notes Hollywood “was complicit – agents, producers, PR people – in protecting the powerful. #MeToo was significant because it was unravelling that.” Wilson added it was “extraordinary. To actually witness Hollywood shift like that.”

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials (2020), HBO

However, she notes the shift turned out to be more of a façade than anything substantial, “To see the survival instinct. You realise how fickle that industry is. There’s no moral backbone. People were like, ‘We’re going to have a meeting about how badly we’ve behaved and then we’ll all be fine.’ It blew my mind.”

“It made me understand a whole swathe of human behaviour. So many people don’t really believe anything – only what makes them money,” she continued. “They’re opportunists. You see that. But it makes you sage about what you want, what’s important. Do you want to live in that world? Or would you prefer to be doing something else, like this weird 24-hour play, where you can explore things in a safe environment?”

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, and Alex Hassell as Metatron in His Dark Materials (2020), HBO

Wilson is currently performing in the stage play The Second Woman at the Young Vic Theatre. She is also expected to play the character of Miss Quay in Andorra and Lorna Brady in The Woman in the Wall.

What do you make of Ruth Wilson’s comments about Hollywood and feminism?

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