Maisie Williams' Game of Thrones character Arya Stark has battled the most insidious of villains on the HBO series. However, there's a foe that Williams herself as to contend with often as a young actress: sexism within the entertainment industry.
"It's only now I’m starting to realise the characters that are available to me because of the way I look and the characters that aren’t available to me."
"It’s a very shallow industry. And I don’t look like someone who is cast in roles that are, well, sexualized."
Clearly, they're missing out. If you've ever heard Williams utter a bone-chilling phrase on Game of Thrones ("Tell them the North remembers" will forever haunt my dreams), then one knows there's pretty much no acting challenge that Williams can't rise to.
Though Williams did not specify what she meant by how she looks, it is clear that there are ridiculous beauty standards for women in Hollywood. Many women in the entertainment industry are told that they must be physically desirable first, and a talented actress second. There's no doubt that the pressure to remain attractive by Hollywood standards is immense, and that it's equally challenging for stars who feel their roles are limited due to how they look.
Williams, a proud feminist, told InStyle that she hopes Hollywood embraces a diversity on beauty in the future:
"Don't get me wrong, I love looking at those totally jaw-droppingly beautiful women," she revealed to the outlet. "But I think it’s sad that you only get to see one type of beautiful on screen."
Obviously, beauty is subjective, and there's no "right" or "wrong" way to be pretty. However, Williams is right that Hollywood tends to favour certain types of stars (often thin, white, young women) over others. As the industry pushes for more diversity, let's not forget that all kinds of women should be included in the picture, too.