Scarlett Johansson Recalls Being “Objectified” and “Hypersexualized” as a Young Actress

Scarlett Johansson got candid about her experiences in Hollywood. Find out why the actress felt “hypersexualized” in her younger years below.

By Tamantha Gunn Oct 11, 2022 2:47 PMTags
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Scarlett Johansson is reflecting on her experience of being "hypersexualized" as a young actress in Hollywood.

The Black Widow star recently opened up about how being made to appear older in certain films when she was a young actress changed the way people perceived her.

"I kind of became objectified and pigeonholed in this way where I felt like I wasn't getting offers for work for things that I wanted to do," she shared during an Oct. 10 appearance on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast. "But I remember thinking to myself, I was like, ‘I think people think I'm, like, 40 years old.' It somehow stopped being something that was desirable and something that I was fighting against."

Scarlett—who made her acting debut in the 1994 film North at age 9—believes she got grouped into only playing certain roles because of her looks. At age 17, she was cast in the 2003 film, Lost in Translation, playing a character that was five years her senior. 

Scarlett Johansson's Best Looks

"I think everybody thought I was older and then I've been doing it for a long time, and I got kind of pigeonholed into this weird, hypersexualized thing, I felt like it was over, kind of," she continued. "It was like, that's the kind of career you have. These are the roles you've played, and I was like, ‘This is it?'"

However, the Jojo Rabbit actress, 37, admitted that times are now different for young actresses, such as Zendaya and Florence Pugh, saying, "they're allowed to be all these different things, they can play all different things."

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Though there has been a lot of progress made in Hollywood following the #MeToo movement, Scarlett says she feels like there is more that needs to be done to protect younger actresses from being preyed on by powerful people.

"I've come to this realization that it's important to understand progress and change when it's really meaningful—it takes two steps forward and two steps back, and then it gets better and then it gets worse," she noted. "It's not finite. I think if you don't leave room for people to figure it out, then the actual progressive change doesn't really happen."

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