Natalie Portman probably thought she was making a courageous statement when she trotted out at the Oscars wearing a gown embroidered with the names of snubbed female directors. I doubt she expected the blowback that she got from Rose McGowan.
The truth is that Natalie Portman is the last person to be banging the drum on female director representation at any awards ceremony.
As Rose McGowan pointed out in her Facebook post, Natalie Portman plays the part of an activist very well.
Sadly, she isn’t alone.
It’s long become the “in-thing” to have a cause that you can bleat on about whenever someone sticks a camera or a microphone in your face. If you don’t have a cause you’re fighting for, then you’re considered passé.
Natalie Portman owns a production company. McGowan was quick to point out exactly how many female directors have been hired by that company: one.
Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career- one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you.
I have no issue with that. I’m a firm believer in hiring the best person for the job regardless of race or sex. If the desirable directors available at the time didn’t include a female, then that’s fine. No harm, no foul.
But don’t make a political statement about the plight of female directors when you’re not hiring them either. That’s just leaving yourself open to ridicule.
There’s no doubt that Natalie Portman believed she’d be the talk of the Oscars for making a stand. Her dedication to giving a voice to the many silenced female directors in the movie industry would make positive headlines, right?
I usually don’t have much faith in the Twitter population in general, but a surprising number seem to have seen through Natalie Portman’s shenanigans.
For most of these Hollywood celebrities, A-listers or otherwise, there is one riding concern they all share. Themselves.
They can dress up their latest marketing campaigns and PR stunts as being about others, but they very rarely are.
Rose McGowan, an actress and activist herself, sums it up perfectly when she says:
I am singling you out because you are the latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women. Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality, do not do much at all. Of course, women in the world will keep buying the perfumes you promote, the movies you make, and think they’re buying into who you are.
I don’t think the Oscars turned out quite as Natalie Portman had hoped. Back to the Dior-branded drawing board.