As the most Oscar-nominated actress in history, Meryl Streep has won three of the 19 Oscars that she has been nominated for. Her choice of movies from the Iron Lady based on the life of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to a bohemian former popstar in musical romantic comedy Mamma Mia to a witch in Into the Woods and a ruthless and powerful fashion magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada, has shown her ability to carry any role with grace, style, and panache.
She has brought each of these characters to life and mesmerised her audience with her power-packed acting.
Meryl Streep is more than an actress; she is also a role model and a woman leader, who has been vocal about women’s issues and gender inequality.
As Meryl Streep turns 67 today, we look at how she has inspired us.
‘Believe in yourself and your skills and they will take you far.’ That has been the mantra of this amazing lady. She says, “There’s a lot of pressure on girls. My advice: Don’t waste so much time worrying about your skin or your weight. Develop what you do, what you put your hands on in the world.”
Speak up, be loud, and get heard
She has been vocal about the existing inequalities between men and women in the world and in Hollywood too. And I quote her,
“People will say to me, ‘You’ve played so many strong women’ and I’ll say, ‘Have you ever said to a man, ‘You’ve played so many strong men?’ No! Because the expectation is [men] are varied. Why can’t we have that expectation about women?”
She is right, isn’t she? At a conference for Suffragette, her movie that made it to theatres in October 2015, she spoke about how the inequalities between the sexes was infuriating. She said,
“There is sexism in the world. The lack of inclusion for women in decision-making in every single institution in the world makes me angry. Why are the people making those decisions not half women? That seems wrong to me. If men don’t look around the table and think something is just wrong if half the people there are not women, then we can’t make any progress. We’re making progress from the bottom up. If women don’t get to decide, how do they write history?”
Be the change
Meryl, who has shown how just talking is not enough, is doing something to make things better for women. She recently helped to fund a workshop for female writers, The Writers Lab. This came in reaction to Patricia Arquette campaigning for equal pay for women during her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, a category in which Meryl had also been nominated that year.
Don’t be bullied
The time is here, the time is now – embrace it was the message Meryl conveyed in her closing speech at the 2016 Women in the World Summit. She spoke about how women were coming up and emerging stronger. She said,
“You could make a case that, along with the technological revolution, the most provocative upending destabilising thrilling change in the course of human history is that we’re finally in it. … We’re here now, women are in the world, and we will not be bullied.”
Be a good person
“The greatest gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.”
This one line says it all. As people, we have to remember that everyone has their own share of challenges and problems, and it is only empathy that will help you understand people better, and make you into a better person.
As she continues to enthrall with her acting prowess and her stand on women issues, we wish that more and more women will take a leaf out of her book and be inspired and stand up for not just themselves but for others too.