Kerry Washington's Comments On Women In Media Are Inspiring & Beautiful
We're in the Scandal off-season right now, so a lot of people are going through some serious Olivia Pope withdrawal. We're all fending for ourselves in these wasteland weeks with no Shondaland Thursdays — who knows what Twitter will become without its weekly dose of "Did he lick her? Really??" and "They're having sex there? Now?" But it seems we've found something truly worthy to occupy our free time: Kerry Washington talking about women in media. No, she's not wearing any impeccably dry-cleaned outerwear or touting wine. But what she has to say is pretty uplifting.
Washington recently accepted the 2014 Women in Film Lucy Award For Excellence in Television, and during her acceptance speech, she waxed poetic on one part of what it means to be a woman striving for excellence. You can read the full speech transcribed over at Buzzfeed (link above), but here are the two bits that stood out to us the most:
So, I want to tell on myself, because a dear friend of mine, Pat Mitchell, who herself is a badass woman in the business, having run PBS and the Payley Center for Media, she called me a few years ago, because she for a long time worked for TED. I don’t mean like a guy, Ted, like, TED, that thing where people give speeches and you watch them. She called and said, ‘I’m going to be running TED Women and I would love for you to speak.’ And I said, ‘You know, gosh, you know what, Pat, I really appreciate the invitation, but I just don’t know really what I would say, I’m not sure what my story would be, I think I should decline, and maybe when I’m ready I’ll come do that.’ And Pat said to me, ‘Kerry, I’ve worked with TED for a really long time. No man has ever said to me, I’m not ready to speak, but for TED Women you are part of a long list of women who have denied me by saying they’re not ready.’ And I realized that what that meant is that we as women put ourselves in this situation of feeling like we can’t take a risk, like in order to step out there we have to be perfect, because we’re scared that if we don’t say the right thing, or do the right thing, that we’ll reflect poorly on ourselves and our community, whether that community be women, people of color, both. [Kerry raises hand]
She continues on to talk about the influence of Shonda Rhimes, and circled back to that inspirational part we were telling you about:
And I need to not be afraid, and we each need to not be afraid of taking those risks, that Cate [Blanchett] talked about. We need to be willing to be uncomfortable, to be flawed, to be imperfect, to own our voice, to step into our light, so that we can continue to inspire other people and employ other people, and make room for more and more voices and presence. I really want to thank each of you for being here tonight, for each of you who donated, not just because you got fancy gifts if you donated, but because you believe in the mission of Women in Film.
So, I thank Women in Film, and I thank you, Shonda, and I just thank each of you for sharing in this extraordinary evening. And while I do love the word "exceptional," I hope that it is no longer exceptional very, very soon for women to do anything extraordinary in this business. Thanks.
Somewhere Olivia Pope is tearing up, wondering if one day she, too, can be Kerry Washington.