The speech Hillary won't give, and what Salma says
1) I am proud to be a woman and a mother and the first serious female contender for the presidency, but my gender is only a part of who I am, and it doesn't define or constrain me.
2) I am part of a generation that faced and still faces all sorts of gender slights and slurs, and I honor the women who came before me for their commitment to achieving equal rights for women in the face of that.
3) But I would ask the women of this country to stop engaging in petty warfare over who has suffered more—women or blacks, women or men—as it is corrosive and fruitless. This country was founded on the promise that you can become the best thing you can dream for yourself; you are not trapped by the worst thing that's ever happened to you.
4) Things have improved for women in America in the last decades. They are not perfect; there is still much to be done. But women have made enormous strides in a few short decades, and to suggest otherwise is to devalue the life's work of too many heroes of the women's movement.
5) It is possible, indeed it is probable, that just as women have faced barriers and obstacles and derision, so have Hispanics, so have blacks, and so have men. No one in America can corner the market on suffering. Who the hell wants to spend their life in a corner, anyhow?
6) Men. What are they thinking? (Pause for applause.)
7) But seriously, if we in this country are ever going to move beyond Hooters, beyond date rape, beyond the wage gap and the glass ceiling, beyond Girls Gone Wild, and bulimic 12-year-olds, we need to start working together. We need to work with men on the gender signals called out by the media and with business about the value of women workers. We need to talk to one another respectfully and listen to one another's complaints.
8) Men, we understand and honor that many of you are taking paternity leave and folding the laundry and eating takeout because we forgot to turn on the crockpot. We get that everything has changed very, very quickly, and it's hard to come home to a wife who's coming home at the same time. You are doing more than your dads ever did around the house, and we still get mad when you forget to clean out the lint filter. It's nuts. But it's getting better. Stay with us.
9) Married guys, don't fool around with hookers. Don't fool around with staffers. Don't fool around with interns or Supreme Court justices. It's insulting to us and to you and to them. Marriage has to mean something. Gov. Spitzer. Bill, darling. I can respect the heck out of your political achievements even as I berate you for demeaning marriage. Life is complicated that way. Deal, buddies.
10) People of America, I understand why some of you are anxious at the prospect of a woman president. Sometimes I am nervous, too. But it's time. Also, I am sorry about that whole cookie comment.
Honestly, some of this is just a tad cutesy for my taste, but I like #2, #4, and #7, and I'd love to hear those points get amplified in a smart, gorgeously crafted talk. A serious speech about gender could also address the root causes of and the best ways to end male-on-female violence in the U.S. and around the world. It could bring national, mainstream attention to efforts like the UN's Campaign to End Violence Against Women, Eve Ensler's V-Day's 10th anniversary celebration in New Orleans (wish I were going to be there!), and the myriad of regional and local grassroots programs that help women of all backgrounds lead better, safer, healthier, more autonomous lives.
Eve Ensler interviews Salma Hayek on V-Day, art, activism, and raising her baby daughter Valentina in this month's Glamour, btw. I like what Hayek says about the natural link between art and activism:Take issue w/Hayek's conflation of artist and entertainer if you want to, but her general point holds. Artists or not, we can all use our voices on behalf of each other, peace, and the world, no matter how tiny our platform.
Art and activism seem to go together naturally, the idea being that if you’re an entertainer, you can have a voice, and if you have a voice, you can make a difference. But if I were not an actress, I would still try to extend myself beyond my little micro-universe of my job, family and personal joy. I think that it’s important for every single person, no matter what they do in life, to participate in the well-being of humanity and the planet. Don’t let a year go by knowing you didn’t make an effort to do something—no matter how small—outside your own problems and drama.
If you've raised your voice this year, write in and tell us how you did it. Seriously! Don't be shy. You might inspire somebody else.