Awards season may be coming to an end, but there's still a ton of excitement in the air with two of the biggest ceremonies of the year, the Grammys and the Oscars, still to come. Though many tune-in to watch their favorite musical performers and actors receive prestigious accolades, the 2018 awards experience has drawn people in for another, more serious reason: activism, especially surrounding the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Over the past month, artists have joined the conversation through strategically picked sartorial statements and by calling for change during acceptance speeches and red carpet interviews. But, is the red carpet really the place to have these important discussions? According to actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, no.
The Deuce star, who helped set up the Time's Up legal defense fund and wore black to the Golden Globes, recently told Marie Claire that there's simply not enough time to unpack her complicated feelings on the sexism, inequality, and sexual harassment and assault that currently plague the industry.
"I've been thinking a lot about [gender equality], and I feel like a five-minute interview or a red carpet is not really the place to talk about this incredibly complicated issue that’s very important to me," she told Marie Claire, later adding that a lot of her "visceral emotional politics about gender equality and where we are in the world right now" can be found in her new film, The Kindergarten Teacher.
Gyllenhaal, who said she's "a feminist for due process," said that it's her sincere hope that "this energy, and this anger, and this pain, and this hopefulness can turn into something that is codified."
"At the Golden Globes I found it difficult to discuss this because my feelings about it are very, very complicated, and the conversations that have been most exciting to me are ones that have gone on for 45 minutes," she added. "I found it difficult on the red carpet to respond to questions about how I was feeling in a way that felt honest to me."
Gyllenhaal raises an important point: These discussions go beyond a catchy sound-bite or a selfie at a star-studded event. Perhaps nothing demonstrates just how nuanced and complex conversations surrounding abuses of power are than the current debate on Aziz Ansari's alleged sexual misconduct.
While we should certainly all agree that there needs to be an end to rape culture and income inequality, there are varying paths to attain these goals that can't be hashed out during a rushed Q&A in a crowded environment.
In terms of bringing more women's voices to the big screen, Gyllenhaal suggested that it needs to happen naturally and that we can expect to see more of that as people write stories that don't force women to "fit" into a project where "only 30 percent of it is relatable...or is a genuine expression of our experience."
"I don’t think you can say: 'I’m going to only make movies written and directed by women,' because some movies won’t be good, then," she said. "It's only going to work if the movies are really good. You have to go with your gut and your taste, and choose projects that are compelling...When I'm presented with something that one-hundred percent feels like it's asking to be expressed in a feminine way, in a way that feels real to me, it's so compelling."
You can read the Gyllenhaal's full interview on Marie Claire.