"While none of these issues are new, they’re so blatant, and becoming normalized in a way that is terrifying. After the election, I made many promises to myself. I promised myself I would be less complacent. I promised myself I would make whatever small gestures I could to reach out to people and women — that’s why I decided to wear a suit to every awards show.
"Something I did notice after the election is a lot of people come up to me saying, 'I’m just shocked, I didn’t know it was this bad.' I, unfortunately, was less shocked than most people, maybe because I’m a woman, or because I’m part of these marginalized groups. I do think if any positive is coming out of this, it’s that people are waking up to how bad it is, and always was. More people are getting called to action and realizing that you can’t just assume that something is going to happen, or that other people are taking care of it. We’re in a time now when we need all the manpower — man and woman power — we can get."
"Absolutely. I’ll be the first person to admit, looking back: I was one of those people who thought, 'Well, enough people are doing it, standing up for that cause,' that I probably didn’t get as involved as I should have, that I didn’t speak up in situations where I should have. I probably didn’t pay enough attention to local elections and certain things that matter. I will totally take responsibility for that and that’s one thing I want to change in this new dawn."
That’s the point of standing in solidarity: You’re willing to put yourself out there, and possibly put yourself in harm’s way, for what is right.
"I would like to be hopeful. That’s hard when you’re associated with certain beliefs and rhetoric, and things that are genuinely terrifying for most women. We’ll have wait to see. You always have to have hope. I think it’s okay to be cautiously optimistic. But it is a bit alarming, of course."
"I was raised in North Carolina. I remember, growing up there, it being a more progressive state — we almost prided ourselves on being a more progressive Southern state. I have noticed a shift, moving back to the South now. I love the South: It’s a part of me, there are things I think about growing up there that are incredible. It gave me an amazing foundation, definitely not knocking it. But I do feel like there’s work to be done in certain areas. I have noticed people automatically assume that I believe certain things, and they feel very comfortable talking to me about them.
"One thing that was really upsetting to me: Someone came up to me and showed me a picture of Melania and Ivanka Trump. They were looking very dolled up — I guess what most people would consider beautiful, even though beauty is subjective. That photo was next to a picture of Hillary Clinton and Chelsea, some sort of candid photo of them with no makeup, looking like what I guess what most people would consider unattractive. And the photo said, 'Dodged a bullet.'
"It is very hard, and it’s hard to contain the rage that you feel, and to have that not get in the way of your message being heard. To just sit there and take a breath and just say, very simply and directly, why you don’t agree with something instead of just calling him a name or getting angry — it’s just like teenagers. The more you get in their face and tell them not to do something and make them feel stupid or bad — they’re just going to push back more.
"It’s about human decency and respect, and setting the bar. We’ve lowered the bar so much and normalized so many things. It’s scary, giving a certain kind of behavior that can lead to violence, and can lead to a certain kind of determination that can lead to very dangerous situations for half of America. That’s when you have to speak up."
"Now we’re writing off celebrities speaking up as Hollywood elitism. But we’re also citizens. We’re also people. We have our own stories. I was raised by a single mom in a small apartment. We shared a bed. I’ve been working since I was 5 years old to get to where I am, and I still had my own experience. I haven’t been super sheltered or in a little bubble.
I do think if any positive is coming out of this, it’s that people are waking up to how bad it is, and always was.
"Honestly, the thing that worries me the most for my son, and what breaks my heart is, for me — just because this is a really personal thing, especially when it comes to sexual assault, and the way that we sometimes excuse certain behavior — lowering men and saying that they’re these mindless animals who can’t help themselves. That, to me, is just as damaging. I want him to grow up with a sense of value and respect for other people and to know that he is more than that.
"You always take a chance when you’re going out to things like this, because you never know, especially in times like this. But people are going to have to start digging deep and putting themselves on the line, because if you don’t it’s only going to get worse. And who knows, one day, maybe they’re coming for you; and you think, 'I should have gotten out there, I should have put myself on the line.'
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