The celebrities have spoken and their views are strong…
From Jennifer Aniston to Taylor Swift, celebrities these days are out to give us more than just sound bites – they’re writing opinion-strong essays that really pack a punch. From questioning the motives of the media, to challenging body ideals, these are the most powerful celebrity op-eds to read online this lunchtime…
Who: Lady Gaga
Where: The Born This Way Foundation website
Why: Lady Gaga recently revealed that she suffers with PTSD after being raped when she was 19. She described the challenges she faces on a daily basis because of the condition, and also encouraged others to open up about their own mental health struggles.
Best point: ‘I am a strong and powerful woman who is aware of the love I have around me from my team, my family and friends, my doctors and from my incredible fans who I know will never give up on me. I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too.
Who: Mila Kunis
Where: Ashton Kutcher’s A Plus, 2016
Why: Mila penned an op-ed against sexism in Hollywood, after an incident where she refused to pose half naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote one of her films. As a result, the unnamed producer threatened her and told her she would ‘never work in this town again.’
Best point: ‘I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to. “I will never work in this town again?” I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said “no.” And guess what? The world didn’t end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. What this producer may never realize is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace. I will work in this town again, but I will not work with you.’
Who: Renee Zellweger
Where: Huffington Post, 2016
Why: Renee penned an essay about body image, addressing the tabloid speculation that she’d had plastic surgery and commenting on the damaging impact that the media’s obsession with body shaming is having on young women.
Best point: ‘Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald, fat belly or bump? It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance. Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.’
Who: Jennifer Aniston
Where: Huffington Post, 2016
Why: Jennifer addressed the paparazzi, who took photos of her with a stomach fulla lunch on a beach, and labelled them pregnancy pics.
Best point: “For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”‘
Who: Angelina Jolie
Where: The New York Times, 2013 and 2015
Why: In two separate op-eds, titled My Medical Choice and Diary Of A Surgery, Angelina chronicled her incredibly difficult, private choice to have a preventative double mastectomy. Her openness on the topic created headlines around the world and is credited with greatly raising awareness of breast cancer.
Best point: ‘I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.’
Who: Lena Dunham
Where: Buzzfeed, 2014
Why: After sharing that she had been sexually assaulted as a teen in her book, Not That Kind Of Girl, Lena experienced somewhat of a backlash from critics who questioned why it had taken her so long to speak out. She took to Buzzfeed to set the record straight.
Best point: ‘Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me. Rather, it was about exposing my shame, letting it dry out in the sun. I did not wish to be contacted by him or to open a criminal investigation. I am in a loving and peaceful place in my life and I am not willing to sacrifice any more of it for this person I do not know, aside from one night I will never forget. That is my choice.’
Who: James Franco
Where: The New York Times, 2014
Why: James wrote his op-ed, Why Actors Act Out, in support of fellow actor Shia LaBeouf who was rebelling against the media.
Best point: ‘Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on.’
Who: Taylor Swift
Where: The Wall Street Journal, 2014
Why: Taylor spoke out about the illegal downloading phenomenon and predicted the future of the music industry.
Best point: ‘Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.’