Bette Davis Skewers Sexism In Unheard Interview From 1963

When film legend Bette Davis (1908 - 1989) sat down with entertainment journalist Shirley Eder to discuss the sexes, the year was 1963, and Davis was smack in the middle of her career. But even today, her words remain as relevant as if she said them yesterday.

In this previously unheard interview -- resurrected and animated for the PBS series "Blank on Blank" -- Davis reflects on being a woman in a male-dominated industry and remarks on the obstacles facing intelligent, independent women in the workplace.

"As a female, I think [intelligence] is a terrible hindrance in business," she says. "I think it’s a terrible hindrance for any female to have a lot of intelligence in private life. But I think in business sometimes it’s even worse because there’s deep resentment ... from the male side of the business. We all work for men, you know, they’re the people in charge, and I think they find women easier who haven’t the ability to think for themselves or stand up for themselves. One can make more enemies as a female with a brain, I think."

Davis also calls for men to elevate their views of independent women.

"I think men have got to change an awful lot," she says. "I think, somehow, they still prefer the little woman. They’re just staying way, way behind. ... As a rule, I think millions of women are very happy to be by themselves. They’re so bored with the whole business of trying to be the little woman, when no such thing really exists anymore. ... This world’s gone way beyond it."

She even points to the lack of female-focused characters and plots in entertainment, an issue that continues to receive attention today.

"There’s no writing for women anymore," says Davis. "This is the truth. ... Women are the essential part of the theater but the writers are not writing about women."

Check out the video above to hear more from the interview.

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