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Zooey Deschanel talks trembling at early auditions, sexism, and writing a letter to 'Vogue' at 17 -- VIDEO

This month, the MAKERS site, an initiative by PBS and AOL celebrating the pioneering contributions by women over the last 50 years with video interviews describing their own journeys, shines the spotlight on Women in Hollywood. On Sept. 12, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel joins the ranks of those profiled, and we’ve got a sneak peek at her interview now. Watch it below.

She shares the letter she wrote to Vogue about an article titled “America’s Beauty Ideal” when she was 17: “I don’t think any woman should have to feel as if she needs to shove herself into an ‘ideal’ to be beautiful. Beauty should be something that is celebrated and something that is enjoyable, not something that people should feel uncomfortable about achieving… ” She speaks about sexism: “It’s sexist to think that somebody can’t act in a girly way or speak the way I want to speak or to assume that I’m not a strong and intelligent woman because of my appearance.” And she talks about what drew her to New Girl, which returns for its third season Sept. 17: “It was so refreshing to get to do a role that is sorta the clown. That was something that I could always do but never had the chance to do because, you know, you’re playing someone’s girlfriend or friend who’s shaking their finger and normal.”

She also opens up about her entry into acting — driving herself to auditions after school when she first got her license and shaking because she was so terrified.

Study claims Hollywood is still plagued by gender inequality

A new study conducted by colleagues at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism confirms what we’ve all, sadly, assumed to be true: Even in the post-Sex and the City blockbuster, Kathryn Bigelow-wins-an-Oscar era, there’s still of inequality between men and women in Hollywood. On-camera, the female players are fewer and more sexualized than males. Behind-the-scenes, the number of women comes nowhere near matching that of men as directors, writers, and producers. The study examined the 100 top-grossing films of 2009. Among the findings: READ FULL STORY

Is Jessica Simpson pregnant or not? For once, it's none of our business.

Seeing the photo to the left, it’s easy to understand why people believe Jessica Simpson is pregnant. Loose-fitting jacket, pronounced bump — for once, bloggers and tabloids are dying to congratulate the multi-hyphenate on her changing body. And yet, Simpson is saying… nothing. READ FULL STORY

Last night's 'Survivor' riddled with sexism. Where's your sense of honor, Coach?

Maybe it’s because I watched the trailer for OWN’s Miss Representation earlier in the day, but I was pretty outraged by the misogyny in last night’s Survivor. Now, I’ve been watching the CBS reality show since its first season, and I consume more reality TV than any human being should, so I’m no stranger to disturbing behavior, hilarious editing, and backstabbing confessionals. But there was something about last night’s episode that simply crossed a line. Actually, two things. READ FULL STORY

'Beautiful' singer Christina Aguilera: Why calling her 'fat' is downright ugly

Back in 2009, the Internet decided former reality show darling Jessica Simpson would be its target. Spotting an unflattering photo of the singer wearing a pair of ill-fitting jeans, Internet surfers and blogs unleashed upon Simpson, deriding her for supposedly daring to gain a smidge of weight. And though the singer still struggles with the taunts — and even used them as inspiration for her short-lived Vh1 series examining appearance, The Price of Beauty — our impatient, tabloid-hungry nation has shifted its focus. Now, the Internet is spending its time slamming pop star and The Voice mentor Christina Aguilera.

The body inspection of Aguilera is nothing new — in the early 2000s, chatter spread about a possible breast enhancement surgery. But now, eyes have moved to her thighs, with bloggers calling her every synonym for “fat,” even slapping her with nicknames comparing her to Jersey Shore‘s Snooki. (Who, by the way, looks perfectly fine too, despite some unwise clothing choices.) But the labels don’t stop on the Web. On Friday’s Fashion Police, Kelly Osbourne unloaded on the singer after some harsh photos from the Michael Jackson Tribute Concert began making the rounds. Said Osbourne, “She called me fat for years. I was never that fat.” READ FULL STORY

Eva Longoria, Tina Fey named Top Female TV Earners by 'Forbes'

What’s the opposite of blerg? Tina Fey won’t be dusting off that classic Liz Lemonism for a while because she was just named TV’s highest-paid actress by Forbes. Fey tied with Eva Longoria for the top spot, with each actress raking in $13 million between May 2010 and May 2011. Fey took the lead for her multitasking role as a star, producer, and head writer on 30 Rock, plus the earnings from her book Bossypants, which just sold its millionth copy. Longoria’s success came not only from her role on Desperate Housewives but also from lucrative endorsement deals with L’Oréal and LG.

Longoria was joined by fellow Housewives Marcia Cross (#3), and Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman, who tied for sixth place with $9 million apiece. Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay and soon-to-depart CSI regular Marg Helgenberger earned a healthy $10 million to tie Cross for third place. Rounding out the group, Cougar Town‘s Courteney Cox and Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy both earned $7 million, and The Good Wife star Juliana Margulies took home $6 million last year.

Read more:
Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants’ sells over a million copies, proving she can do no wrong
‘Desperate Housewives': Eva Longoria dances on a stripper pole in next episode — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
‘CSI’ season premiere: Ted Danson, warm and wily, takes over; Catherine prepares to leave

Ali Lohan, 17, has decided to age gracefully

So many “real” housewives and older (26 and up) starlets are defying the very laws of nature in this brave new world we’re living in. A little lift here, a slight tuck there, and before you know it, you’re popping somas and looking like a creature from the murky inner depths of the Bravo network. It’s usually unattractive, and it’s an undeniably negative trend that is wreaking emotional havoc on the impressionable young women of my generation.

This is why I was delighted to learn that 17-year-old Ali Lohan has defied the defiers by opting to age gracefully. Of all things! A rep for this brave young woman, who was recently signed to a modeling agency, denied allegations that she went under the knife after a new photo sparked concern and media frenzy.  READ FULL STORY

Could Sarah Silverman and Whitney Cummings pave the way for more female-led series?

Call it the Bridesmaids syndrome: The obvious, but long-overdue recognition that not only can women be a mix of funny and smart and brazen and daring, but people are very much interested in seeing women like that in their entertainment.

Perhaps that explains the recent trend on the small screen that’s allowing some of today’s biggest female comedians a chance to share their humor with the masses. As we reported earlier today, Sarah Silverman, whose last show was the subversive The Sarah Silverman Program that ran on Comedy Central for three seasons, has landed her own sitcom on NBC. The currently untitled program will take a page from the book of Louie and Curb Your Enthusiasm in that it will mirror the comedienne’s personal life. In Silverman’s case, the series will follow her chapter in life as a woman who just broke out of a long relationship (Would it be uncouth to suggest Matt Damon play this part? Sorry, Jimmy!)

The Silverman news comes on the heels (or flats, even) of NBC turning funny lady/talk show host Chelsea Handler’s escapades from her best-seller Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea into a multi-camera comedy. READ FULL STORY

Bad girls make good: Do 'Bad Teacher' and 'Bridesmaids' signal a new comedy era?

Last weekend, Bad Teacher landed in a surprise second at the box office, raking in $31.6 million dollars — a solid 50 percent over projections for Cameron Diaz ne’er-do-teach comedy. Another unexpected hit came earlier this season in the form of Bridesmaids, which is well on track to surpass Knocked Up and become producer Judd Apatow’s highest grossing film yet. With these lady-led raunchfests blowing expectations out of the water, have we turned the corner on guys’ domination of the bad-behavior market? Audiences seems to think so. But one thing is for sure: Hollywood hasn’t gotten the memo. With only a few “girls gone wild” movies (for want of a better term) scheduled for release by year’s end, who (and what) will feed this growing appetite? READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Feminist or not?

HBO’s much-hyped swordsy fantasy epic Game of Thrones packed loads of stuff into its premiere episode Sunday: severed bodies, decapitations, bastards, sex, dwarves, sex, dire wolves, incest, and more sex. But it’s a matter of some debate whether strong female characters are part of the Game plan. There’s no doubt that among the seemingly infinite cast there are women — and memorable ones, at that. The question is whether they’re an endless parade of misery and victimhood or inspiring figures who triumph in a very masculinized fictional world where no one even thinks of giving the titular headwear to a chick.

I come down on the latter side, though I found myself in the curious position of arguing that this geekboy fantasy fest was, in fact, quite feminist with EW’s own Doc Jensen, who thought the pilot was misogynistic. Granted, I have the context of having read the entire book on which the first season is based, and having watched the first six episodes. But I certainly see where he was coming from when he asked in an email, “Do the women get to do anything more than be miserable or sex objects (willing, paid, or raped) for the men?” READ FULL STORY

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