How women are presented onscreen is a conversation that has had much attention in Hollywood over the last 50 years or so.
That’s because in an industry dominated by men, the “male gaze” has long been the norm by which female characters are presented; a gaze that often objectifies them, puts them in compromising positions and portrays more of their body than is entirely necessary for the narrative.
Margot Robbie is more than aware of this type of filmmaking and is wary of those filmmakers who take advantage of actresses for this purposes. However, in her latest film Terminal, she says that her femme fatale character Annie weaponises the male gaze to her own advantage.
“I like that she is very conscious of the male gaze which she uses as a weapon,” Robbie tells Yahoo Movies. “If I see that and it’s not used in an ironic, subversive way then I don’t necessarily agree with it.
“If I see it in a character that is using it as a weapon, or a tool or doing it intentionally, like in Wolf of Wall Street, she’s wearing a short dress for a reason, it’s her currency and knows she’s going to get her own, that feels empowering.
“When it’s used in a way where there isn’t that level of self-awareness,” the actress adds, “then it does feel like you’re being taken advantage of and I don’t really vibe with it.”
Robbie doesn’t just star in the crime noir, she produced it too, which means she gets more of a say in the creative process and how much nudity she is willing to do for the role.
Though, she admits that experience and longevity in the film industry have made her far more confident in voicing her opinions about how her characters should look and appear onscreen.
“Even if I wasn’t producing I would have started being vocal with those opinions now anyway,” she explains. “I’m starting to get to the age of having worked on films pretty consistently for the last ten years, that I do have an opinion and I am ready to be vocal about it but at the beginning, you’re so grateful that you have a job that you just don’t want to rock the boat sometimes.
“In anything, an office job, it comes with age where you start being like, ‘no this is how I feel about it [and] actually I’m going to say something,’ it’s a wonderful thing about getting older I think.”
Terminal is available DVD, Blu-ray, Digital and On-Demand on 6 August