Lisa Kudrow dished on an odd form of sexism she encountered on a press tour.

It's been two decades since the cult classic film, "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," premiered on the big screen. Yet actor Lisa Kudrow still (not-so-fondly) remembers an odd bit of sexism she encountered doing press for its release.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.


In a roundtable discussion celebrating the movie's 20th birthday with HuffPost and several of the film's stars and executives, Kudrow dished on an obnoxious pattern she spotted all those years ago: men making the film about them.

Kudrow said (emphasis added):

"It was funny doing press for this. Certain men, especially the ones who had talk shows, would say, 'I liked this movie because it wasn't bashing men.' And I thought, 'Well, that's great, except no one was talking about men. They didn't even get into the conversation. It's about two girls. How did you insert yourself into this? We weren't talking about men.'"

These unnamed male TV talk show hosts weren't celebrating the film because it was hilarious and well-written (though it was). They didn't praise it for lightheartedly serving up some valuable life lessons about growing older in your 20s (though it did). They told Kudrow they liked "Romy and Michele" because a movie centered around a fierce female friendship starring two women ... didn't bash men?

Male characters were certainly not at the heart of "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" — so making the film's treatment of men a cornerstone to liking it is weird at best and kinda, sorta sexist at worst. It's not all about guys, people.

The phenomenon of men finding ways to always make things about them is one that many women aside from Kudrow have noticed. "Parks and Recreation" parodied it brilliantly in an episode poking fun at a "men's rights activists," when one "meninist" was upset that men weren't at the center of a discussion on feminism: "Can we have one conversation about feminism where men get to be in charge?"

GIFs via "Parks and Recreation."

What's more, suggesting the female-led comedy was unique simply because it didn't hate on half the population perpetuates the false notion that anything feminist or female-driven is inherently anti-men. Feminism is not anti-male — feminism helps men too.

I'm not sure which talk show hosts Kudrow had in mind when she dished to HuffPost, but I'm hoping they've raised their interview standards since 1997.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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