14 Dec 2017
I am obsessed with popular culture. Now that I’ve put it out there let’s move on to how my brain works around it: I study pop-culture and its main participants in order to see how the minds of the First World work for I believe that gossip is a prism through which non-famous people are exposed. There are celebrities I do not care about (Jennifer Aniston), celebrities I will always avoid (Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, Leonardo DiCaprio) and celebrities I adore and will ask “how high?” if they ask me to jump (Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal). My brain is capable of storing compartments, sub-compartments, sub-sub-compartments – most exciting new-comer celebrity, hottest celebrity, celebrity I would f-ck vs “picture him on top of you” celebrity – indeed, my brain capacity is impressive.
There is one woman who for many years has remained at the forefront of the “Adored” selection. Angelina Jolie. We are not the same age, but we are close enough in age for me to remember everything she has brought to the table of the ecosystems of both Hollywood and humanity. Angelina has had her f-ck ups, it’s not that I will ever think she can’t do any wrong and I might just hold the whole “proximity” to Billy Bob Thornton against her forever, wtf was that??? It’s the humility, the warmth, the passion she’s putting into the causes which highlight women’s struggles, the honesty with which she talks about speeding up the process of her menopause, the single parenting of six children (yes, I am aware she has help), her way and articulation with words, her ambitions and calculations, punctuality she’s apparently well known for (this is important to me, ok?).
For a lot of her revelations Angelina has been called “brave”, I, however, don’t think bravery plays the crucial part. It’s this HONESTY (though, of course bravery goes hand in hand with that) that captures the attention and hearts of those who love her and those who don’t. I have friends who don’t “get” her, and that’s fine, they are the people who see ambition and calculation and thinking ahead as “negative” qualities in a woman – as if these are the standards of a “bad” woman. This is just very different from what I think. There are people like my father who dismiss Jolie’s fight for women’s right as too mundane, not large scale enough to see and understand its importance. (My father also is Team Depp, therefore, I have learned to ignore pretty much his arguments, literally, I don’t care.)
No matter how much I’m going to keep acknowledging my privilege, it seems like there will always be some things I had, up to the moment, been ignorant about. Like, I keep educating myself, and wanting to educate myself, and yet there’s so much f-cksh-t in the world that I am not aware of. Don’t ask me how it is, I don’t even know. Then there comes Angelina talks about rape in war zones, the use of raping women and children as weapons in war zones. Had she not brought it to my attention how would I even begin to learn about this? How would I further evolve in compassion? And empathy?
Now that Angelina is campaigning for First They Killed My Father and The Breadwinner, she will be more visible. With her children, of course (she always seems to be with her children, she aces this paparazzi game). She has just attended The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast and, again, her speech was impeccable. I mention that I check my own privilege from time to time, well, Angelina checks the privilege of some of the most key female players in Hollywood and proceeds to shine the light onto those who will never have what the rest of us might have. “We all know women who were never able to live their creative dreams because they had to put their families first, who poured their creative truth into homework assignments and birthday parties. We all know that our industry lacks diversity and equality and that there’s so much we have to change and fight for. But we have a level of freedom that is unimaginable for millions of other women around the world — women who live with conflict and terrorism and displacement and poverty, who never get a chance, whose voices are always silenced.”
She is so badass.