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Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Says Sexism in Hollywood Is Like 'Dealing with Racism'

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Keith Bernstein

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has compared the subtle, but pernicious sexism she has experienced in Hollywood to racism.

In an interview with  Rolling Stone, the British-born actress, 30, said she did not realize at first that she was being discriminated against and treated differently from her male costars.

“I feel so naive for saying it, but it’s like dealing with racism,” she said. “You’re aware of it, and you’re aware of it, but one day, you go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s everywhere!’ Like you suddenly wake up to it and you go, ‘Wait a fing second, are you . . . are you treating me different because I’ve got a pair of tits? Is that actually happening?’ ”

Clarke, 30, continued, “It took me a really long time to see that I do get treated differently. But I look around, and that’s my daily life.”

The actress, who plays the timid Khaleesi-turned-conquerer Daenerys Targaryen on the HBO hit, pointed out that female actors are usually vastly outnumbered on set, show up hours before the men for hair and makeup and often get fewer lines than their male costars.

Mark Seliger for Rolling Stone

Clarke also defended her character’s tendency to appear naked, saying she should be able to do nude scenes and still stand up for women’s rights.

“It doesn’t stop me from being a feminist,” she said. “Like, guess what? Yes, I’ve got mascara on, and I also have a high IQ, so those two things can be one and the same.”

 

RELATED VIDEO: The Ultimate Game of Thrones Travel Guide

Despite the difficulties of being a woman in Hollywood, Esquire‘s 2015 Sexiest Woman of the Year in 2015 is grateful to be playing a character who doesn’t let anyone stand in her way.

“Women have been great rulers. And then for that to be a character that I’m known to play? That’s so f—ing lucky,” she said. “Anyone who seems to think that it’s not needed need only look at the political environment we’re all living in to be like, ‘Oh, no, it’s needed. It is needed.’ ”

After appearing in a as-yet-untitled stand-alone Star Wars film centering on Han Solo, Clarke wants to create a welcoming environment for fellow women in the TV and movie industries: a production company full of women where the vibe is one of ” ‘Yeah, I’ve got a pair of t—-s, and aren’t they lovely? Aren’t they great? You do too! They’re great, you’re in the club!’ “