Monday, January 22, 2018

The Tall Dude From True Blood and Eleanor

Last night I read an article in Teen Vogue.  It was about Alexander Skarsgard winning a SAG award for his work in Big Little Lies.  People are upset because he didn't mention domestic violence victims in his acceptance speech. Since his character was an abuser, people thought he should talk about that.

I don't think I want to live in a world where people are pressured to speak out about things.

One of my pet peeves is when people say celebrities should keep their mouths shut—stay out of politics and keep their social justice causes to themselves. They should just stick to acting. But I don't think we need to go in the opposite direction and pressure actors to say something.

One thing is, if we put so much pressure on actors to speak out on our favorite causes, then how will we possibly know when they're being genuine?

I don't know why Skarsgard didn't mention domestic violence. Does it mean he doesn't care about it? Maybe? But if he did speak out about it, does that guarantee that he cares? No. He could be lying. And he's an actor. Actors are quite skilled at lying.

I watched Skarsgard's speech this morning.  It was short and awkward. Skarsgard seemed shy to me. It seemed like he wanted to get off that stage as soon as possible.  I think if he had made a long speech, blabbing on and on; then maybe it would have felt more wrong that he had not talked about domestic violence. Again, though, I don't think he should be obligated to mention it.

I kind of think most people are actually against it.  I think even the perpetrators are against it. They do it and feel guilty. Or they deny they do it by blaming their victim. Or they minimize their crimes by comparing it to people who've done worse.  I doubt there are many people who are like, Yay! Domestic Violence. It's awesome! More people should do it!

The other thing, though, is that on previous occasions, Skarsgard HAS spoken in depth about domestic violence. Teen Vogue was kind enough to provide a link to that.  He says various things including:

It's very important. It's obviously a huge problem in our society. It's stigmatized. [Wives] are protective of their husbands and in certain cases they blame themselves and say, "It takes two to tango. I'm partly responsible for this." They don't really see themselves as victims sometimes. It's not until you talk to someone outside that you can get an outside perspective and you realize then, "This is an abusive relationship that I shouldn't be in." 

Granted he was asked questions in the interview about domestic violence. We could say he was forced to talk about it. But I think his answers were thoughtful and insightful. It's not like he tried to change the subject.

Personally, I think Skarsgard does care about domestic violence. I think he was just not in the mood to mention it during the awards. I'm fine with that.

Another thing I saw recently involved Kristen Bell.  She made me like her less by taking the opposite side of me in the Aziz Ansari drama.  She Tweeted a link to an editorial in The Atlantic that's in the Aziz-Ansari-is-the-victim camp. I read this editorial and hated it. I don't like that Kristen Bell has taken that side. It disappoints me. But she has every right to believe differently than me, and she has every right to Tweet out links to things I don't like.

Many people Tweeted a response to Bell's Tweet. Some agreed with her and praised her. Some disagreed and argued with her.  I think that's all fine.  But one woman Tweeted, This is a poorly written and irresponsible article. You are increasing many women's pain, including my own. Please delete this Retweet. 

No. I'm not okay with that.

If you don't like what someone says, ignore them; stop liking them; stop watching their show; argue with them; write a blog post about them; don't personally provide them with a platform; don't vote for them; make a dartboard with their photo on it....

But to me, there's something chilling about telling someone to stay quiet...maybe even more so when it's done politely.

And I dread living in a world where people say what we want them to say only because we've pressured them to say it.

If we're allowed to speak and link freely, than we can have a better chance of truly knowing who's on our side and who should be added to our shit list.