Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Why Meryl Streep's Golden Globes Speech is Important

I'm well aware my readers all hold diverse political stances and opinions so I want to premise this first and foremost by saying this is not a political post in the least and I would ask that you banish that idea from your mind, just because many media articles are lending themselves to the partisan-political aspect that could be seen in Mrs. Streep's acceptance speech. Also, apparently she offended those who are fans of football and mixed martial arts, so for the sake of this article I am of the belief that she wasn't targeting sports fans. I'm just a huge freedoms and arts-nerd and want to advocate for that. Okay, read on!

So some background on me and how I have any connection to these frivolous awards shows: I've been performing since I was eight years old and probably had the desire to do so before that. When my mom suggested I sign up for the Shakespeare play my school was during in third grade I jumped at the chance to play dress up with my friends and wave ribbons around. That's where it all started: waving some ribbons around, dressed as fairies for a Midsummer Night's Dream in a classroom at my elementary school with my peers. I am now a theatre major and have been performing for over a decade. I'd like to think I know a lot about my art because of my history in theatre, but in reality I have so much to learn and so far to go. But that's for another post...

“Take your broken heart, make it into art."

In Mrs. Streep's discussion about being an actor, she poignantly reminded us all--performers or not--what it is to be human. In her speech, Mrs. Streep stated that "An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like." This is something that I had the privilege of learning during my first semester at the school I transferred to. Acting is not imitating someone or trying to act. It is simply being yourself. Which sounds backwards--I know! But actors on screen, on stage, everywhere: all we aim is to breathe this human into ourselves and portray their story and their truth. We're all humans, we don't have to act human. We know what being angry or sad feels like, even if we haven't been in the character's exact position. That is exactly the challenge of acting.

Mrs. Streep went on to say how Tommy Lee Jones reminded her the privilege we get in being performers. She reminded us that in being performers we must be empathetic yet we all hold the "responsibility of the act of empathy." This is something that has been drilled into me by my coaches and teachers since that first show I was in. To portray another human being truthfully and authentically requires an amount of empathy that I don't believe non-actors have as full a grasp on in life.

That is why her speech is important.

So many are unaware of empathy at all. Empathy goes so much further than sympathy, it is truly putting yourself in the other person's shoes and it is how I try so hard to live my life. I understand what others are feeling and I feel that emotion myself daily in conversations with others. This world would be a much better place if we took the time to feel the feelings of others. We would be so much more kind, patient, and understanding. Next time you're feeling angry, annoyed, or frustrated at another human being remember that we are all humans and life is not simply about yourself. Remember what it means to be human and take the time to put yourself in the other's shoes. I promise you your life will be better for it.

In one of my favorite movies, Funny Face, Audrey Hepburn's character eloquently reminds us that "Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being's suffering. Not a career. Not wealth. Not intelligence. Certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we're going to survive with dignity."

12 comments:

  1. This message is so important. Our world is severely lacking in empathy right now. We could all be better if we simply put ourselves into other people's shoes. Thank you for this. <3

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  2. I think it is great that you shared this! And I watched the Golden Globes but missed her speech :/

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  3. This post is wonderful! I loved Meryl's speech and was cheering along the entire time!

    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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  4. I totally missed the speech! I need to set my DVR for the next awards show!

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  5. I liked how you highlighted the points in the speech that weren't political, but focused on the arts!! A well written commentary!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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  6. I missed the speech & made it a point to watch it the following day after reading about it everywhere. I had always known meryl streep was an inspiring woman, but now she's more than that - she's a role model. she's a successful, motivational woman whose using her voice to preach something beautiful...I just hope we can all listen. x, nicole // www.nicoleeigh.com

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  7. YES GIRL YES! I have been rewatching and reading the transcript of her speech since I missed it when she made it. I cannot stress enough how important it is in every arena to show empathy and compassion. Thank you for touching on that in your post.

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  8. I missed the whole Golden Globes, nooo! But I'm definitely going to watch her speech. I 100% agree that the world needs more empathy. We tend to ignore, dismiss, are quick to judge another person without feeling how they feel. This is one of my resolutions this year.

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  9. So happy you shared this- I didn't watch the show or catch her speech but I feel the underlying message in this was missing in all the posts I did catch about her speech. Very cool!

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  10. I am so happy you wrote this! I already was obsessed with her speech and your post i think really bridged the disconnect that so many people have been experiencing around it.

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

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  11. I recommend watching Brene Brown's TED Talk in Empathy. I think you'll like it.

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  12. Everyone has been talking about that speech but I've yet to watch it! I'm definitely going to do that right now!

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