|Viola Davis at the 81st Academy Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia; Image by: Chrisa Hickey )|
The internet has been abuzz over Meryl Streep’s badass statement at Women in Film (WIF)’s Crystal + Lucy Awards condemning the “underrepresentation of women” in film and Hollywood’s preoccupation with “big tent-pole failures.” She went on to question, “Don’t they want the money?” since women’s films like The Devil Wears Prada and Mamma Mia have been box-office blockbusters. And the divine Streep couldn’t be more right. We desperately need more women on-screen (and behind the camera), especially considering women comprise only 33% of speaking roles in film.
“I realized I spent my entire life trying to be better than my mom. That I am the daughter and the granddaughter and the great-granddaughter and the great-great-great-granddaughter of so many women whose dreams are in the graveyard. They’re women of color who worked in the tobacco fields and the cotton fields and had children by the time they were 15, left school in the 8th grade and a dream was just ambiguous to them.“And I realized that I wanted to have a dream. And I think that I chose acting because all my life has been filled with stories of people of color that have been filled with so much complexity and duality. And so much of my life has been filled with so much pain and humor and joyous moments that I felt the need to express that. And I couldn’t do it in a 9 to 5 [job].“I believe unlike my mom and my grandmother and my great-grandmother that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, truly being who you are.“And I’ve spent far too long apologizing for that — my age, my color, my lack of classical beauty — that now at the age of…well at the age of 46 I’m very proud to be Viola Davis, for whatever it’s worth.“And I never want to look in the face of a young actress of color and think to myself, “What’s out there for her?” The only thing worse than a graveyard, artistic graveyard, filled with women…[Davis undoubtedly said something awesome here but the video cut out]“The higher purpose of my life is not the song and dance or the acclaim, but to rise up, to pull up others and leave the world and industry a better place.”