Oprah Winfrey's quest to end the #MeToo stories forever and how we can all help
In a rousing, powerful speech as she accepted the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award, Oprah gives women (and men) the inspiration and empowerment we all need to help the #MeToo movement truly succeed.
The glitz and glamour of the Golden Globes, which kicks off Hollywood’s award season, was made even more powerful because celebrities stood united in making many empowering and inspirational statements that went beyond red carpet fashion.
These ranged from choosing to wear all black to symbolise the Time’s Up movement, to many eloquent speeches.
It could be challenging to choose a highlight at this year’s memorable Golden Globe awards. But Oprah Winfrey’s speech is without a doubt the most powerful of all.
This year, she was the recipient of the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award. And though the accolade was meant to honour her contributions to Television and Film, her rousing acceptance speech made it clear that her impact transcends the entertainment industry.
Oprah Winfrey’s speech: A call to action for mums and dads
Oprah Winfrey dreams of a world where the #MeToo movement no longer exists because it is simply no longer necessary.
As parents, you hold the great privilege and responsibility of raising a generation that will help put an end to the injustices of the past.
Though the challenge seems insurmountable, Oprah Winfrey’s speech is truly empowering, giving us hope that we can help in small, but powerful ways.
Here’s what mums and dads can teach kids about respect and empowerment based on Oprah Winfrey’s speech:
1. Follow your dreams, no matter what
Oprah paid tribute to her own mum, who would come home exhausted from work, cleaning other people’s houses all day. Though she experienced abuse and injustice, she persevered, like so many mums out there, because she had a family to take care of and dreams to pursue.
“I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” said Oprah.
2. Women are NOT the weaker sex
They are powerful and determined and ambitious. Even in the face of violent oppression, they continue to fight. Oprah Winfrey’s speech also shed light on the story of Recy Taylor.
In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother who was abducted while she was walking home from a church service, and raped by six white men.
“She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men,” Oprah said of Recy, who died at the age of 97, a little over a week before the Golden Globes.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up,” emphasised Oprah. “Their time is up.”
Though the men were never prosecuted, a young Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on the case. She would go on to become one of the most iconic figures in the fight against racism in America.
3. Teach boys about consent
Even little things contribute to rape culture. Simple gestures like asserting one’s agency over their own body, or refusing hugs and kisses are the basic rights of a person.
For Oprah, Recy’s truth lives on in “every woman who chooses to say, ‘Me too.’ And every man who chooses to listen.”
Mums and dads, raise your boys to become men who choose to fight for the rights of women, who choose to listen. Educate them to respect girls, their bodies and their spirit.
4. Teach girls to support other girls
In the same way, teach young girls to uplift one another. Teens (and adult women) should learn that slut shaming or victim blaming is not okay.
Oprah took time to address the issue as something that is not just “affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace.”
5. Break gender stereotypes
Introduce your girl’s to non-traditional, non-princess-themed movies and books. Tell them stories with strong female leads.
Don’t buy gender-stereotyped toys. If your daughter wants a doll, why not buy her a male doll? This reinforces the concept that men can cook, clean, and care for kids, too.
You can also set a good example by having your husband sharing equal responsibility when it comes to housework.
6. Speak your truth
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” said Oprah.
She closed her speech with this unforgettable promise, which unites both women and men in the fight:
“I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”
7. Don’t quit. Persevere.
“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you,” continues Oprah, “but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
A victim of abuse and poverty herself, Oprah worked hard to become one of the most iconic personalities in the world.
Her overwhelming success has been the result of hard work coupled with an unwavering hope and dedication to what she believes in.
This same passion should be the driving force for mums (and dads) to keep working hard for their kids.
Teach kids that working hard, living with integrity, respecting others and themselves will not only bring them to great heights, but to a deeper love for life.
You can read Oprah’s powerful speech in full here or watch it below.