I think Jeff Labrecque may be technically correct here that there are few women in Hollywood who gets to have careers that are as multi-faceted as the best careers for men. But I still find the idea that not being “limited by those constraints” applied to women means that Stone is like a dude:
There have been many other actresses who have experienced similar success at her age, 23, but Stone seems to be a different creature. Even when she’s cast as The Girl, she’s never been limited by those constraints. From Superbad to CSL, she’s imbued what might have been clichéd female characters into something indelibly richer. And as she increases her clout, she’s finding the unique roles that enhance her growing stardom without making her a prisoner of any specific genre or pre-fab persona.
I guess what I’m getting at, and I mean it as a high compliment, is that Stone is a dude — in the sense that she is building a career typically allowed to only serious actors in Hollywood. Guys in the industry unfairly get more leeway, whereas actresses are so easily boxed in at an early age, and few have been allowed or earned the freedom Stone currently enjoys. She can literally do anything, and she’s getting opportunities to prove it in period dramas, high school comedies, adult romantic comedies, and comic-book epics. She’s on her way to becoming a lucrative brand, an ironic but nevertheless well-deserved achievement considering her multiple talents and eclectic taste.
I actually think it’s more apt to suggest that Stone is on a trajectory to escape the permanent girlhood Hollywood foists on most actresses. Limiting actresses to stories that pit jobs v. love as if they’re a choice, or that makes the question of whether or not someone is the One isn’t just a female thing, or what femininity is made up of. Instead, it’s a way of trapping actresses in the black-and-white terms of teenagedom, of walling them off from the full range of problems and joys women get to experience. If there was one thing I liked about The Help it’s that it’s a love story where the female lead chooses her career over her dude and feels absolutely no ambiguity about it: racial justice is more important to her at the moment than romance or respectability is. Women aren’t just wives and mothers and people with jobs: they’re citizens.