A late-night TV interview is a guide to recognizing privilege and putting it to good use.
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal stopped by "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" to discuss her new show, "The Deuce," but audiences got a lot more than that.
"The Deuce" is an upcoming HBO drama in which Gyllenhaal plays a sex worker. The show grapples with a number of uncomfortable topics, misogyny and power structures among them. Gyllenhaal's conversation with Colbert eventually turned to — as so much seems to these days — politics.
"I think when we were making the show, it was last summer, it was the election," she said. "Sometimes we'd be watching the debates on our lunch break. All of these conversations were bubbling under everything. We were shooting when Trump was saying, 'I can grab women's pussies if I want to.'"
Trump's election caused Gyllenhaal to reflect on where we actually are in society and how it compares to where we thought we were.
A man who, as Gyllenhaal alluded to, bragged about grabbing women's genitals would receive tens of millions of votes. A man who had been accused by 15 women of sexual assault or harassment would become president. A man who allegedly walked in on a teenage girls' dressing room would hold the highest office in the land. A man who once said it was OK to refer to his daughter as a "piece of ass" would be the next leader of the free world.
Whatever ideas anyone had about misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia being relics of America's past went out the window with Trump's election. And for Gyllenhaal, it was a wake-up call.
It's foolish to think any of those things had truly been eradicated from our society, but for some, it was easy enough to pretend these problems didn't exist.
Gyllenhaal didn't want to be complicit in America's culture of misogyny any longer, so she made a conscious decision not to let things slide anymore.
As any woman can surely attest, sexism and misogyny are everywhere. They are forced to pick battles and begrudgingly accept sexist behavior as part of working, living, existing in this world.
But as Trump's election demonstrated, putting up with the small acts of sexism can reinforce a dark, dangerous, and pervasive culture.
Realizing her privilege as a well-off Hollywood actress, Gyllenhaal could just as easily continue to let the little things slide. But she didn't want to do that anymore.
For her sake, for the sake of our country, and for the sake of our future, it's imperative to push back against injustice in all its forms.
Gyllenhaal declared that she's "not gonna take it anymore," and while she didn't exactly elaborate on what she meant by that, it's a good start.
Those of us in positions where we can fight back against bigotry and sexism should do so because it's not just about us as individuals, but us as a collective society.