Meryl Streep, last night at the National Board of Review awards, interrupting her presentation of an award to Saving Mister Banks' Emma Thompson by taking Walt Disney to task for being a sexist and a racist.
This would be an incredible thing for any actress, especially one of Streep’s stature, to do. It’s especially extraordinary when considered as the endgame of an entire career that’s been devoted to being a vehicle so that female characters could speak as loudly and on the same level as their male counterparts. But as I argue in my book (available now!), for a long time, Streep’s (for lack of a better term) feminist activism was hidden from audiences; it took place behind the scenes, in the roles she chose, the way she approached them, and the fights she would undertake in defense of fair portrayal of her characters within an industry in which at least low-level misogyny is usually the norm rather than the exception. Only in recent years, having become both an elder stateswoman and an unlikely box office queen, has Streep really started to come out, as it were, as the rebel that she’s always been, to put forward a new persona as a crusader against a fucked-up male-dominated status quo that’s maybe better now than it was decades ago (in Disney’s day, or the beginning of Streep’s days), but by no means snuffed out completely.
And if you can find me a picture of Streep delivering this speech (allegedly whilst wearing a promotional trucker cap bearing the slogan “Prize Winner”), I will send you a free poster or t-shirt.
UPDATE: A transcript of Streep’s full speech is available at Vulture. Still no photos.