We live in an age where celebrities are worshipped. Just as the UK has their ordained royalty of kings and queens, our royalty, in the US, come from Hollywood. Celebrities ordained out of Hollywood Blockbusters are bestowed with the blessing, and the curse, of public admiration and power. Most of them choose to use their power for the greater good; to fight for things that they relate to and hold near and dear to them such as racism, sexism, childhood hunger, breast cancer awareness… and the list goes on.
The thing is, just as quickly as we are to adore them and retweet, repost and oogle over them in tabloids, we are also just as quick to condemn them. We love a new face just as much as we love a good “slip up”. But I think it’s sad that celebrities have to apologize for things they have said in interviews, speeches and on social mediums just because they are who they are and “must set examples”. At the end of the day, they are human beings, just like you and me, and are entitled to their own opinions.
I also find it extremely admirable when a celebrity says something not received well by the public and continues to stand by his or her statement. Recently, actress, humanitarian and UN appointed Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, received backlash on social media for saying, “Some of the best feminists I have encountered are men,…” Many thought her statement was “male approval seeking” and therefore NOT feminism.
Well I agree with what she had to say, for I also, am a humanitarian and believe that ALL PEOPLE are equal. Before people took to their social mediums, perhaps they should’ve listened to what else she had to say… like how, “Some women can be incredibly prejudiced against other women.” Yes! They can!! And if you are a woman, or at least a male that has ever had a girlfriend, or even a girl that is a friend, in his life, you would know that women can be mean! There’s a reason why the 2004 Blockbuster hit, Mean Girls, made the catch phrase “You can’t sit with us!” so popular.
Women gossip about, belittle and shake down other women and men, every day. Usually because they are jealous. But the truth is, if you truly are a feminist, you know that respect comes when you work together and support other like-minded races, genders, shapes and sizes, not when we ridicule them. Which is exactly what Watson was saying.
She also went on to say, “The more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.” It does! Feminists don’t hate men. That is an unfair stereotype, for I’m a feminist and I’ve been crazy about boys ever since I could understand what a boy was! I know that racism, sexism and many other “isms” still exist today… but I’d say a good majority of them are fueled by the stereotypes and clichés created because we are all just too damn scared to sit down and try and understand someone that is different than us. So instead, we put a label on it.
Matt Damon is another celebrity who has been criticized for something he said recently in an interview with The Guardian. “I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play,” Damon was quoted saying. But instead, of actually using the quote, bloggers, journalists and basically the Internet criticized him for saying that gay actors should get back in the closet. Well I would be angry with him, too, for saying something like that… Problem is, HE DIDN’T SAY IT!
Damon appeared on friend and comedian, actress’s show, Ellen, earlier this week, to defend himself and express his frustration with the media. Rightly so! Actors not only put themselves out there, giving us raw, vulnerable, and might I remind, entertaining performances; they also take time out of their busy lives to expose some of the vulnerabilities that take place in their personal lives in interviews. To me, that sounds like a lot of work and heart, which should be respected… not twisted!
There are many celebrities, like Damon, whom choose to keep the majority of their lives private, but still have to go on interviews and attend press junkits, which ultimately end with them exposing at least some pieces of their personal lives. Earlier this week Joseph Gordon-Levitt made an appearance on Kelly and Michael to promote his new film, The Walk, and was congratulated on the arrival of his new baby son. It is here where he said it best: “Being in the public eye is a great thing. It allows me to do what I love to do, which is act in movies, but it’s a choice that I made. I decided to have a career in show business, and so people know my name and know my face. And that has its upsides and honestly, some downsides,” he confessed. “My son, he’s just a baby, you know? He hasn’t made the choice to be in the public eye, and that’s a choice that I would like him to be able to make when he’s older, when he can think about these kinds of things and make that decision for himself. And so, for now, I’m just a protective dad, and I want to protect his privacy.” Well good for you Joseph Gordon-Levitt!! Way to truly love and respect your child!
Matt Damon chooses to live a similar lifestyle, though he chocks it up to having a boring life. Being “married happily with four kids is not quite a story,” he laughed. Sounds to me like a pretty nice guy so far…
Later in the interview, Damon speaks about rumors from his past implying that him and close friend Ben Affleck were gay, simply because they wrote a script together, and the struggles he dealt with trying to deciding whether or not to set the record straight (no pun intended).
He goes on to use Rupert Everett as an example of an extremely talented actor that was pigeon-holed, simply because of his sexual orientation. Here, he was trying to go back to his original point, in which he believes it is better for an actor to keep his or her personal life “a mystery”, in order to be able to portray more believable and variable characters… Sounds like a nice, down to earth guy with an opinion. Hmmm…
And finally, Damon was able to give an amazing performance as Liberace’s gay lover, Scott Thorson, in Steven Soderbergh’s television drama film “Behind the Candelabra”, perhaps because of the unanswered questions on the rumors from his past, or perhaps it is because his life still continues to be a mystery to the public eye… Regardless, I don’t think a homophobic person trying to tell gay actors to stay, or go back into the closet, for that matter, would take on a role like that.
But the thing that boggles my mind most, is that I read the article that twisted Damon’s words around, prior to reading the full interview and I STILL did not think his statement was trying to tell gay actors to go back into the closet! Maybe it’s just me, but I know how to read between the lines and can spot a story trying to be a story from a mile away. The media today is saturated with journalists that will say just about anything to get more, shares, likes or views on a page. It’s quite sad, really.
A few weeks prior, Damon also had to apologize for a diversity comment he made on HBO’s Project Greenlight. It had appeared that he had dismissed his colleague, Effie Brown’s, concerns for diverse hiring practices; HOWEVER, as the documentary went on, Damon was given the chance to explain himself in a talking head segment. Damon said that at the end of the day… “It’s just strictly a filmmaking competition. I think the whole point of this thing is that you go for the best director, period…” Damon also stated that he was happy Brown flagged the issue because it is something he feels needs to be addressed.
Well I guess it was too late, because viewers had already pounced on their phones and took to social media. Today, everyone the power to “publish” an opinion, but the problem is, not everyone is trained to hear the entire story. To me, Damon’s talking head statement was enough of an explanation, but then again, I know how to listen to an entire story…
And in regards to what he was saying about picking “the best director” for the project, I also agree. I do feel that we need more female directors, writers and producers in the industry today, and also feel we need more diversities in leading roles; however, if I was a part of that competition, I would want to be given a job based on my merit, not because I’m a single, white female looking for a handout. I think this goes back to the whole equal rights argument, for I believe it’s not privileged rights, it’s equal.
Sigh. I think it’s great that so many people have jumped on the human rights and “isms” issue train, however this has also become a trend more or less, which, when dealing with the media, can be dangerous. Bloggers, journalists and writers, today, will do almost ANYTHING to write about something that is considered “trendy” in order to increase their viewership. And if they can’t find it, they’ll make it “trendy”. So I write all this to warn my readers to be more careful with what they read from now on… Or at the very least, to do a little more research next time they decide to take to the Twittersphere.
Matt Damon’s new movie, The Martian, hits theaters this Friday. Happy tweeting peeps!