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Star Wars Actor Daisy Ridley Gives Message of Kindness After “Real Women” Comment
Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor Daisy Ridley is fairly new to the spotlight but she isn’t afraid to use her voice. A recent Instagram post launched discussions of body image and kindness both online and off.
Ridley posted a screenshot to her Instagram recently which served as a reply to another user who had posted an image of her Force Awakens character Rey. The image featured Rey with a speech bubble that read, “I can’t believe the unrealistic expectations I’m setting for young girls. Who cast me anyway? Don’t they know real women have curves?”
I know the phrase “real women have curves” came from a good place and a frustrated place. I’m not sure who first used it to describe women who weren’t society’s popularized beauty standard (it was a movie starring America Ferrera in 2002) but it probably wasn’t the best way to get the idea across. Because, while it may not be meant to be taken literally, it does create another either-or situation. (Though it did make for a fantastic comic strip!) And the last thing women need is more reasons to feel like their personal image isn’t the “right” one.
While Hollywood and the fashion industry mostly show us one version of beauty (we’re just now getting our first curvy model on Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue), all women are “real.” All of us. No matter our size or shape. No matter what gender we were assigned at birth. Celebrities are often photoshopped portraying unrealistic standards and a lot of thin women hold a privilege others do not, but putting down something to promote something else is never a good tactic.
Hence Ridley’s attempt to promote inclusivity with the message, ” ‘Real women’ are all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities, all levels of brave, have families, don’t have families. I am a ‘real woman’ like every other woman in this world.”
Ridley has since deleted this post because other users went on to harass the original poster. And well, that yielded its own reply from the actor. She’s posted an image of her original comments with the additional note, “Guys it was not my intention for anyone to send messages to that poor person that posted the original picture. My whole post is about being kind to each other, so please refrain!” Here’s what the image message said:
What’s weird is most of the time I see such gorgeous messages from people around the world. People who relate to something in Rey they haven’t found in a female character before. People who’s daughters now think they can do things without the aid of a man, but who wouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. People who loves that The Force Awakens has muplitple incredible female characters. It is much more hurtful to continue to slate other women than to BE a woman, BE a character, BE whoever you want to be. I’m a normal girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, just like Rey. I will not apologise for how I look, what I say and how I live my life cause what’s happening inside is much more important anyway and I am striving to be the best version of myself, even if I stumble along the way. It seems apt I get tagged in this a day after I received misogynistic comments on my #IWD post. For all of you who celebrate each other, celebrate the ones you love, love yourselves, work hard, are kind, thank you for your continued support and the social media love. For anyone who has a problem with ANYONE in life, be them someone you know or someone you don’t, remember that expression, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Kindness isn’t going to cure the world of all its awfulness but it’s a good place to begin.
IWD stands for International Woman’s Day, which is a campaign to help achieve gender parity. That day, Ridley posted an image featuring the statement “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” I didn’t go searching for the misogynistic comments she mentioned but being a woman on the internet, I’m sure I can guess their content.
This isn’t the first time the actor has used her Instagram to promote positivity, especially when it comes to body image. Remember when she deadlifted 176 pounds? She wrote, “The female form is beautiful in all shapes and sizes, whether that’s athletic, straight up straight down or curvy; you just have to do what makes you feel good, try not compare yourself to other people and LOVE YOURSELF!!!”
Hollywood still has a long way to go in terms of diversity but Star Wars: The Force Awakens made good strides in that direction in my mind. Some may still scoff at Ridley’s messages because she is a privileged individual but I always appreciate celebrities who use their position to try and make the world a better place. Like she said, “Kindness isn’t going to cure the world of all its awfulness but it’s a good place to begin.”