On Jan. 21, millions of women and men across the globe marched together in solidarity to protest, among other matters, the presidency of Donald Trump. Among the public marching were celebrities such as Ian McKellen, Nick Offerman and Cher. Several prominent female celebrities, specifically Scarlett Johansson, Madonna and Ashley Judd, delivered powerful speeches at the march to rally and empower women everywhere.
Actress Scarlett Johansson, who focused her speech on speaking out in favor of Planned Parenthood, said, “For the more than 2.5 million patients a year that rely on Planned Parenthood services for cancer and STD screenings, birth control, safe abortion and pregnancy planning, these are uncertain and anxious times. Lawmakers in 24 states have tried to block patients from receiving care at Planned Parenthood. Congress has voted to limit reproductive services nine times. There are consequences to limiting access to what should be considered basic health care.” Her speech was cut off mid-sentence, and she left the podium in anger.
In her speech, Madonna rallied a crowd with her fiery language, calling them to choose love over hate. She also said she “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” This drew some criticism from many people. Singer and activist Cyndi Lauper criticized Madonna’s speech, stating, “I don’t think that it served our purpose. Anger is not better than clarity and humanity. That is what opens people’s minds.” Madonna later clarified some of her comments on Instagram, saying, “I do not promote violence, and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context….I know that acting out of anger doesn’t solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love.” Trump slammed Madge, calling her speech “disgusting,” and a Texas radio station has vowed never to play any of her music again.
Last but not least, we come to the most talked-about of all celebrity speeches that day, Ashley Judd’s slam poetry attack on Trump. Reading a poem titled “Nasty Woman” written by a 19 year old girl from Nashville, Judd’s words struck swift and fierce as she criticized Trump’s policies and behavior toward women.
“I am not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booths. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth. I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Why is the work of a black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter?…I am nasty like my bloodstains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could some of us would….Tell me, why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not?…Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?”
Judd shared that her hatred of Trump goes even further. One of Judd’s best friends married into Trump’s family, and Judd has met him at social events regularly for more than 15 years. She stated that he once made gross remarks about the wife of one of his own family members to her (specifically about the woman’s breasts).
Through their speeches these women sought to take a public stand for the rights of women everywhere. They also sought to inspire the next generation of women and let them know that men may currently hold most of the power, but the tides are shifting toward equality.
Sources: Rolling Stone, Twitter, YouTube