During the 2020 Golden Globes, actress Michelle Williams accepted her award to make a political opinion — confidently going against Ricky Gervais’ request that performers needn’t use this platform to share an opinion as “the public doesn’t care what you think,” since everyone in that room was working with organizations knee-deep in exploitative practices.
In spite of this, Williams decided to go ahead and bless us with her opinion. She stated that women should “vote in their own self-interest” for the simple reason that this is what “men have been doing for years.” It is evident that this mindset is typical of many white feminists. In a moment of pure, gleeful irony, the camera just happened to pan to every white, blonde woman in the room at that exact moment. Yikes.
Let’s get something straight, folks. Voting in one’s own self-interest is what resulted in the election of Trump in the United States and the re-election of Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom. Historically, those who have been given the right to vote in the UK and the US have been white men, then white women, with the privilege slowly spreading to all men and women of colour.
In order to ensure that the society we create does not just benefit those who are at the very top, each person should vote with the intention of helping the people who are in the worst possible situation.
In any election, it is important that we introduce a shift in narratives towards voting. Every person’s vote, regardless of their class and background is important. In order to ensure that the society we create does not just benefit those who are at the very top, each person should vote with the intention of helping the people who are in the worst possible situation.
For example, ask yourself, will this politician’s policies of harsher border immigration help refugees who could potentially be separated from their families? Or how will this party’s consistent austerity help homeless people?
I believe that Michelle Williams’ intentions were pure in this instant. However, the fact that she issued a catchy soundbite without any context is dangerous. The implication and the effect that her words will have on certain voters — namely Trump supporters or Brexiters who vote in a more damaging rendition of self-interest — will only further enhance the xenophobia faced by minorities. These types of voters will be voting for themselves, without considering the humanity of others, and that is unacceptable.