The older I get and the more grounded in - or perhaps slapped by - real life I become, the less I care what's going on in Hollywood. My husband had The Golden Globes on Sunday night and I caught approximately four minutes of the show while I wandered through the living room.
The four minutes happened to include the acceptance speech given by Jessica Chastain, in a low-cut blue dress, who won for best actress in a drama. During her speech, Chastain applauded director Kathryn Bigelow, to whom she compared her character, calling them "two powerful, fearless women that allow their expert work to stand before them" while referring to Bigelow allowing Chastain's character to "disobey the conventions of Hollywood."
I love seeing strong female characters in films and I do think Kathryn Bigelow has done good things for women in that industry, and perhaps in general. Something has to drive progress and popular culture certainly plays a role. But these award shows don't celebrate real women, or those who work to advance our interests. It's fine for a character in a movie to go against the norm in Hollywood, but when the actress who portrays her accepts an award wearing a low-cut dress, thus bowing to Hollywood convention, I put a little less stock in her ability to influence the perception of women or their roles in society.
With two small children, I don't get out to see a movie as often as I'd like. But don't get me wrong - I think movies are a great escape. A couple hours in a dark theatre with a Coke and some popcorn does a mother good. I just don't understand why the professions associated with making movies are the ones we spend so much time celebrating at this time of year.
Why not celebrate the woman who traded her full-time career to start a non-profit to help women with postpartum mood disorders?
Shouldn't we stand and applaud the woman involved in a project to reach out to people who have a gay dad, as she does, so they have better support than the children's board book she was given as a resource when her dad came out when she was 15?
Give me a red carpet and a microphone and I'd rather talk to the woman who bares her soul every day through her work to build an online group for moms that attempts to normalize motherhood by providing a loving, judgment-free space where hundreds of mothers from around the world can (and do) come to support each other.
I don't mean to throw Jessica Chastain under the proverbial bus. I do applaud her success and her fulfillment of a dream, especially one born of long years and hard work. But does starring as a "powerful, fearless woman" in a movie really make a difference in the world?
I am blessed to know women who set sail to their dreams and simply hope they make it ashore so they can help those they find there.
There's no red carpet or star-studded audience for these women. No golden statue and no blue dress. There are only small thank yous - the kind not broadcast on television - and the determination to help again tomorrow.