I have been watching your movies for a long time. You’ve always been an inspiration to me in the best ways. You taught me to be a woman who has a mind and a heart, and it’s perfectly ok to use them both. You showed me that men should take women seriously, and that basic human rights are hard to come by, but worth fighting for. I’ve read essays that you’ve authored, detailing world issues like poverty and birth rates, that need immediate change, but are things all nations struggle with. You gave me the tools to build myself up, to refuse to stay silent, and believe in my strength. you taught me that empathy and compassion are traits worth having, and it doesn’t make me less than others to want ethical treatment to grow and persist into the future.
These things I thank you for. Without having a strong female to look up to in the media, I think I’d be a different person. I might have given in to the pressure of choosing to be less educated, less steadfast, and less caring. Without you, I might have given up my goals, because there weren’t many people in my little world that wanted me to be more than a uterus.
Motherhood is a skill I have not yet learned. There will be a time when I will want to care for and educate a life other than mine, but that day has not come. Being a mother takes more than just being the carrier of a fetus. It is a career that requires so much of you, yet has such little legitimacy. Your movies, your craft, have shown how much good mothers matter for the future.
The reason I write to you today is to say to you that I watched Big Stone Gap last weekend. I was feeling a little homesick for south, and stumbled upon it on the “recently added” section of my Netflix. I laid on the couch, excited to see you strut your southern accent on my screen, showing the world that women are awesome. Ashley, this is a time I was bummed out by your movie.
I didn’t read the book it’s based off, but I think I get the gist. (Spoilers) Your character was supposed to leave the Big Stone Gap. Your character is shown selling all of her worldly possessions. She had a plane ticket sending her to Italy to find her long lost family. Yet, she put that all away for a man that couldn’t tell her how he felt for about 30 years. In your defense, Patrick Wilson is scrumptious. BUT. ITALY. Your character kept talking about finding a place she belongs, outside of Big Stone Gap, and then she settles for the coal miner down the road? (End Spoilers)
Love is love, I suppose, but you, as a person, have always advocated for women to be smart, independent, and capable. Your character was a stereotype. I know you may not have had much in the way of character development, but you chose to portray a woman you aren’t, nor do you advocate for. Your work wasn’t art this time, and I’m a little sad about it.
You’re a person that knows what’s at stake for females. I hold you to a higher standard than others, because you have asked me to. I’ve always loved watching your craft. You’ve offered so much hope for women. You’ve shown that we can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. You give women a role model in your films and in your personal life.
This in no way impedes me from supporting you. The humanity you have in real life far exceeds this movie, but I hope you go back to movies where your message supports a better world, because you were being heard by many and supported by even more.
Two Book Minimum