Not only is Meryl Streep the most nominated actor in the history of the Oscars, with a whopping 20 nominations to her name, but she is also a global sweetheart.
The 68-year-old actress can do little wrong, whether it be while playing a character on stage or by simply being herself. An advocate for women’s rights, she has been campaigning for equality in the entertainment industry long before the third wave of feminism washed over us all. A staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential race in 2016, she has been outspoken against Donald Trump, before and after he assumed the Oval Office. During her acceptance speech for the lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes, just days before then president-elect Trump was sworn in, Streep made her opinions on the businessman turned politician very clear – which resulted in Trump calling her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big” in a series of scathing tweets. So, when Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a sexual predator, many were waiting with baited breath to hear what Streep, who had worked with the disgraced media mogul on films such as The Iron Lady, would say. Initially, Streep, who famously called Weinstein “God” at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards, stayed silent on the scandal. Considering her outspoken nature, her silence was deafening and not missed by users on Twitter who slammed the Academy-Award winning actress for what they perceived to be hypocrisy. However, a few days later, in a statement published by Huffington Post, the New Jersey-born actress condemned her former friend. She claimed to have been completely oblivious to his behavior and the financial settlements that he allegedly made to eight women who had threatened to expose the truth. She went on to praise the “brave” voices that brought the allegations to the usually glittering surface of the industry, calling the women who’d spoken out about the Hollywood film executive “heroes”. “The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar,” she said. “Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.” Since then, the scandal has intensified, with dozens of women coming forward to accuse the 65-year-old film producer of sexual misconduct. Not only that, but it has also sparked a conversation outside of the entertainment industry regarding abuse of power, something which TIME magazine acknowledged when they chose the ‘The Silence Breakers’ as their Person of the Year. So, it was only a matter of time before Streep was asked to weigh in on the movement once more. Speaking on a panel at BuzzFeed News‘ office in New York, the actress, who was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2010, openly discussed the scandal. “If the boards of the company were half female, there wouldn’t ever have been payoffs to anybody. None of this – the shenanigans wouldn’t have occurred,” she explained, before going on to say how women make up a small minority of major powers. “[Women] are at 17–20% of the boards. That’s pretty much anything, from the Senate to the Supreme Court to probably here.” The actress, who was joined on the panel by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks while they promoted their latest film, The Post, went on to say that having more women in positions of power will greatly change the dynamic of the world, because “everything filters down from there.”
“Power tries to suppress truth, that’s just what happens. In Hollywood, in Wall Street and in the news media as well. So everybody has to stay alert, and awake, and fight against it.”
She also highlighted how journalists are under immense pressure to provide “three reputable sources for every story” resulting in it taking a lot of “time to put out a real story”. Talking of women in positions of power, could Streep be the woman the world needs to take charge in 2020?