Scarlett Johansson, star of ‘Avengers,’ claims she was “hypersexualized” by Hollywood as a teen because of her “older” appearance

Scarlett Johansson, a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, claims that Hollywood “hypersexualized” her due to her “older” appearance.

Scarlett Johansson, star of ‘Avengers,’ claims she was “hypersexualized” by Hollywood as a teen because of her “older” appearance

Scarlett Johansson, star of 'Avengers,' claims she was "hypersexualized" by Hollywood as a teen because of her "older" appearance
Source: The Avengers (2012), Marvel Entertainment

Scarlett Johansson, a Marvel Cinematic Universe alumni, has claimed that she was constantly “hypersexualized” by Hollywood during her teenage years due to her “older looks,” an assertion that comes as no surprise given the industry’s reputation.

During a recent appearance on fellow actor Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, the Black Widow star shared this insight into her early days in the industry.

Shepard complimented Johnasson on her naturally inviting and warm personality, and she thanked her host before admitting that much of her public persona was the result of industry misrepresentation, saying, “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.”

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I think people think I’m 40 years old,’” she added. “It somehow stopped being something that was desirable and something that I was fighting against.”

According to Johansson, the reason for this treatment was that “everyone thought I was older and had been [acting] for a long time.”

“The runway is not long on that,” the actress continued. “So it was scary at that time. In a weird way, I was like, ‘Is this it?’ I attributed a lot of that to the fact that people thought I was much, much older than I was.”

“I got kind of pigeonholed into this weird, hypersexualized thing,” she told Shepard. “I felt like [my career] was over. 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?’”

Though Johansson admitted that she “definitely was in different situations that were not age appropriate,” she revealed that such incidents were never able to escalate because of her mother, whom she described as “really good about protecting” her.

“Now, I see younger actors that are in their 20s,” she added.  “It feels like they’re allowed to be all these different things. It’s another time, too. We’re not even allowed to really pigeonhole other actors anymore, thankfully, right? People are much more dynamic.”

Despite this progress, the actress stated,“We live in a patriarchy and I feel like there’s a fundamental reality of the woman’s condition that will always — even if those 600 men are not actively aggressive necessarily as much as they would have been a minute ago — it’s still fundamentally there.”

“It’s so baked into our culture and society,” she said. “It’s hard for me to imagine that ever being not an element.”

“We had our mothers who were like, ‘Use whatever you can to get the thing you need. Use your feminine wiles. Use your sexuality,’” detailed Johansson. “And then there’s our generation, I think that’s done that and also [said], ‘This doesn’t feel right, there’s gotta be some other way,’ and there’s the younger generation of women who are like 15 years younger than me,”‘You don’t have to take any of that crap. No pandering.’”

“There’s this system that’s completely rejected,” she concluded. “It’s an interesting place to be in the in between of.”