Geena Davis has been an important voice in the push for gender equality in Hollywood for the past three decades -- and she's not slowing down any time soon.
In an interview with The Guardian published on Monday, the 60-year-old discussed why gender equality on screen is so important and how her iconic feminist movie "Thelma & Louise" influenced her career and life.
"I had always wanted to avoid being just the girlfriend or the wife," Davis said about her choices for movie roles. "But 'Thelma & Louise' changed my life. For the first time I realized how rare it is for women to come out of the cinema and feel excited and empowered by the female characters they saw."
The success of "Thelma & Louise" made Davis realize just how impactful these roles for women can be. "I was already a feminist -- I had always wanted to empower women and girls -- but 'Thelma & Louise' was an awakening about how powerful media images could be," she said. "And also how negative they are; how women are being completely left out of entertainment media."
Davis also shared some research about the gender imbalance in TV and films conducted by her institute, The Geena Davis Institute For Gender In Media.
"Our research shows that the more TV a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life," Davis said.
"She doesn’t see all the great options that are presented to men and boys; male self-esteem goes up when they watch TV. People can be inspired or limited by what they see. If they see women doing brave things, such as leaving their abusive husbands, it impacts us greatly."
It can greatly influence young girls if they see women on screen in roles other than wife and mother, Davis said, adding that her motto is: "If you see it, you can be it."
Head over to The Guardian to read the rest of Davis' interview.