Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Go, Girl!

Actress, comedian, and now Golden Globe winner for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious, Mo'Nique made a big splash at this years award ceremony. She managed to make two important, yet very different, statements for women this Sunday night. One was speaking out to all survivors of sexual violence and the other was about leg hair.

Because they were both made at the Golden Globes, which are one of the most viewed awards ceremonies on TV, they resonated far and wide. While both messages are important in their own way, one of them is clearly more necessary and serious. Unfortunately, the less serious of the two statements may have received more attention.

First of all, during her acceptance speech, the actress, who played the role of an abuse mother, states: "For every person who's ever been touched [inappropriately], it's time to tell." The movie itself brought issues of incest and sexual abuse into the eyes of the public and her statement allowed the awareness to be carried even further.

In addition to her statement empowering victims to speak up, she herself was speaking up about standards of beauty. Even though she was wearing a floor length gown, Mo'Nique did not try to hide her leg hair from the world to see. By not being ashamed of her long locks, she sent a message to women that you can embrace your natural state and still be beautiful. The actress has stated in the past, "I must show America what a real leg looks like . . . because it's too much in the morning, every morning, to shave, to cut, you got Band-aids baby." Since the advent of leg shaving, god knows when, women have been made to feel dirty and gross for not fully eliminating their leg hair. There is no physical benefit for hairy or hairless legs so it could should be the woman's choice whether or not she wants to shave. No matter what the reaction to Mo'Nique's leg hair, whether outrage or kudos, the publicity her leg hair received brought the issue to the public's eye.

Now whether or not Mo'Nique's leg hair may have overshadowed her victim's empowerment message is up for debate but I give her props for having the audacity to make both powerful statements.

Even since it's release in November, Precious has received a lot of both positive and negative commentary. The issues discussed (race, gender, class, etc.) intersect with each other which makes for interesting debate.

photos courtesy of beastandbest via Flickr and nydailynews.com

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