Michelle Williams Had An Abortion, Thank You For Coming To Her Golden Globes Ted Talk
Last night, during the Golden Globes, host Ricky Gervais implored those accepting awards to not get up and give political speeches, insinuating that, because they were actors, they were too stupid to have opinions about anything.
"So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a political platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and fuck off. OK?"
(Funny how he doesn't feel that way when he, himself, is expounding on his thoughts on trans people having rights and being treated with respect. Wait no, what is the opposite of that?)
It should come as no surprise that many of those accepting their awards did not give a flying fuck about what Ricky Gervais found personally annoying or whether or not he thought they were smart enough to have opinions, and said what they were going to say anyway. And good for them.
Most poignantly, when actress Michelle Williams came up to accept her award for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie — for her performance as Gwen Verdon in FX's Fosse/Verdon — she gave a startlingly personal speech explaining that she would not be there right now accepting that award if she had not been able to have an abortion.
Michelle Williams: Best Actress, Lim. Series, TV Movie - Golden Globes youtu.be
When you put this in someone's hands you're acknowledging the choices they make as an actor. Moment by moment, scene by scene, day by day. But you're also acknowledging the choices they make as a person. The education they pursued, the training they sought, the hours they put in. I'm grateful for the acknowledgement of the choices I've made and I'm also grateful to have lived in a moment in our society where choice exists, because as women and as girls, things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice.
I've tried my very best to live a life of my own making, and not just a series of events that happened to me. But one that I could stand back and look at and recognize my handwriting all over. Sometimes messy and scrawling, sometimes careful and precise. But one that I had carved with my own hand. And I wouldn't have been able to do this without employing a woman's right to choose.
To choose when to have my children and with whom, when I felt supported and able to balance our lives as all mothers know that the scales must and will tip towards our children. Now I know my choices might look different than yours, but thank God or whoever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principles that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours. So, women 18 to 118, when it is time to vote please do so in your self-interest. It's what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them but don't forget we are the largest voting body in this country. Let's make it look more like us.
And good for her.
Williams's speech cut straight to the heart of what most forced-birthers find so objectionable about reproductive rights. It's never really been about fetuses or life or what Jesus wants or anything like that, for most of them. It's that women aren't supposed to be selfish or self-interested, but selfless. You can see it in the rhetoric coming from that corner of the internet in reaction to her speech. They're not devastated by the loss of that fetus, they're angry at Williams for being "selfish."
They don't want women having abortions and then doing something incredible with their lives. They want stories of women giving up the incredible things they could have done with their lives in order to stay home and have babies and take care of their husbands.
They hear stories like Williams's and they absolutely lose their shit. Their biggest fear is that women will act in their own self-interest. That's why you don't see them giving a shit about maternal mortality rates or even infant mortality rates, or parental leave or health care or the cost of giving birth in this country or child care or education funding. All of those things being terrible in this country only increases the amount of "selflessness" required to have a child in it.
So yeah, we should all vote in our own self-interest and do whatever the hell we can to keep these rights for women in the future, so that they can be self-interested too.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse