I wrote today in the open about speaking up. Or not speaking up. And the reasons why we don’t. Many people don’t feel safe enough to speak up. Is there ever enough money or fame to protect you from fearing the consequences of speaking up?
Kate Winslet is one of the best actors of her generation. She’s experienced success and opportunity. She has talent, access, and a platform. She has previously used that platform to talk about body image and the negative expectations placed on women by Hollywood and the beauty industry. What she doesn’t want to talk about, however is the gender pay gap. In an interview with the BBC Kate was asked to comment on the ongoing discussion that gained momentum after Jennifer Lawrence’s essay about pay inequality. As you know, Jennifer wrote about how her need to be liked and to not seem difficult and spoiled got in the way of her advocating for what was fair. She wondered whether or not women are conditioned to be as amenable as possible, even at the expense of their own voices.
So. Kate’s response?
"I'm having such a problem with these conversations. I understand why they are coming up but maybe it's a British thing. I don't like talking about money; it's a bit vulgar isn't it? I don't think that's a very nice conversation to have publically at all," admits Kate.
"I'm quite surprised by these conversations to be honest, simply because it seems quite a strange thing to be discussing out in the open like that. I am a very lucky woman and I'm quite happy with how things are ticking along."
Kate Winslet stresses that it would be "dangerous" for her to comment on other people's comments but visibly squirms when asked if she's ever had to cope with sexism in the film industry.
"Honestly no," she says.
"And if I'd ever been in that situation I would have either dealt with it or removed myself from it. I find all this quite uncomfortable. "I haven't ever felt that I've really had to stick up for myself just because I'm a woman."
Kate doesn’t want to talk about money and equality because she doesn’t want to come off as “vulgar”. She’s “uncomfortable” with the discussion about sexism and concedes it would be “dangerous” to address the concerns that have been raised by her peers, most recently Sandra Bullock who just this week talked about how she came up against sexism 10 years ago on a movie set and described it as the “worst experience” of her career. Ten years ago Sandra Bullock was already one of the most well-paid actors in the business, still having to deal with that bullsh-t, and still “literally fearful” about what she encountered.
And that’s what I’m reading between the lines here with Kate Winslet. She’s fearful to speak up. “I’m a lucky woman and I’m quite happy with how things are ticking along.” Sure. I get it. Who’d want to f-ck that up? The fact that she’s worried that all that would get f-cked up is what’s so alarming. What are the perceived and unpredictable threats that could jeopardise her safety? When did she learn to be so afraid and what’s making her STAY afraid?”
Attached – have you seen Kate on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue? I love this photo shoot. She looks incredible. And the headline? “Successful People”. While she’s dressed in menswear. Is that irony?
Click here to see more photos.