“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”
– Meryl Streep, Golden Globes Awards, 2017
Every year award functions happen and awards are given out to the deserving movies and actors. What happened in the Golden Globes award had slightly more than that. Not only did the acceptance speech delivered by Meryl Streep pull a string in the Hollywood industry, but it started a discourse in the entire society which is perhaps very necessary considering the kind of male dominated society we live in.
What was the discussion all about anyway? Meryl Streep, who was honoured at the Golden Globes for a lifetime of notable work made a very subtle move on US President-elect Donald Trump. In her address, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the actress denounced Trump’s campaign rhetoric and criticized him for mocking a disabled reporter. She said “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life,” Streep said. “This instinct to humiliate when it’s modelled by someone in the public by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same.”When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” she added. Streep’s comments were a reference to a rally by Trump in November 2015 when he imitated New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a condition that affects his joint movements. However, Trump has always seemed to get away with that, and much more. We had earlier written a piece about Trump’s sexist comments, during his Presidential campaign.
Is the USA the only country who succumbs to male domination? I think definitely not. It has been established how India has been struggling to attain gender equality since the time of independence. The struggle of attaining gender equality is rooted in the fact that the majority of the decision makers and individuals holding powerful positions are men. Also, the entire idea about women coming out in open and asking for equal presentation still looks very alien to the Indian mindset. But, a democracy can’t be fully democratic where women don’t have a say in the proceedings of the society.
This brings us to the larger picture of how powerful individuals can get away with almost anything and everything and not seem to care. The US which is apparently the “superpower” and is seen as a role model for other countries ends up setting a wrong example for the others. The hierarchy is so deeply rooted in the minds of the people, that the thought of even coming out in open and talking about powerful people is scary. The thoughts are suppressed even before they come out. So, when a personality from the glamorous world mocks powerful individuals, the society is bound to support. Meryl Streep move was not only bold, but it also reminded the society about how the space for openly talking and not being scared is important and that women are empowered to do so.
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