The commentary in question begins at 2:45 minutes into the video.
Editors Note: The above video has been removed from youtube but can still be seen at the Jezebel link below.
Conan O’Brien: In those early years what length did you to through to try and get a part because now you would think that people would be dying for you to be their movie, but back then before you were established what did you do?
Meryl Streep: I did this thing once when I was auditioning once for Out of Africa, because I had done some movies but I wasn’t famous or famous enough or something to get this big part. So I was auditioning and Sydney Pollack who was the director, let it be known to my agent that he didn’t think I was sexy enough to play Isak Dinesen, this Danish writer. You know, who was like fifty when she published her first book. So I went and bought a sweet little dress at my local K-mart kind of thing. It went off the shoulders and then I took a lot of paper towels and I stuffed them in my bra.
Conan O’Brien: You stuffed your bra?
Meryl Streep: Yes. So that it would mound up.
Conan O’Brien: Oh I know what it does, yes. Exactly what you’re talking about and it worked I guess.
Meryl Streep: Yeah I got the part.
This bit comes across as comedy, but really it reveals that no matter how talented you are, as long as you are a woman, your ability is always questioned. Imagine that sexiness was an issue for the movie Out of Africa. Did they wonder if Robert Redford was sexy enough? Somehow I doubt it.
No matter what it is that we endeavour to achieve it is always questioned. We are either too sexy or not sexy enough. Our bodies are continually deemed for male consumption and can be considered either a detractment or an enhancement to the task at hand in a way that males are never positioned. Men get to exist simply as they are. No matter the privilege for women it all comes down to the same thing…negotiating a patriarchal sexist world while attempting to maintain our dignity.
As for Pollack, he is clearly an idiot.