2017 has been a very important year for women. In January, we witnessed the global Women’s March, the biggest human rights demonstration ever recorded with 4.5 million people taking the streets to protest against sexism. Elsewhere, the BBC were forced to show transparency around their gender pay gap and the entertainment industry offered us more feminist TV shows and films than ever before.
It makes sense, then, that Porter magazine has decided to recognise landmarks like these in their upcoming winter issue – and, while doing so, asked some inspiring women to share their messages with the world.
One of these women is Nicole Kidman, who has been praised this year for her part in the all-female lead cast and produced and Emmy award-winning TV show Big Little Lies, in which she plays Celeste, a successful, confident and vibrant woman, with a seemingly idyllic marriage and family life. However, it later transpires that this “myth of perfection” belies the horrific abuse she suffers in private – and always in private – at the hands of her husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård).
With this in mind, Kidman has penned a powerful open letter for Porter magazine, urging her “3.5 billion strong and beautiful sisters” to continue to lift each other up in combating sexism and domestic violence.
In her letter, Kidman draws on her experience as an actor and producer to further the conversation around the limited roles for women in these industries, writing that it has “guided me tremendously as I have pursued my career” to choose roles that “portray strong, independent women who go went against the expectations of society”.
She builds on her point with the disarmingly obvious and indisputable statement that “it never occurred to me that I should be at a disadvantage because I was born a girl” before illustrating how frustratingly difficult that can be in “an industry that is still largely run by men”.
The level of sexism in Hollywood is, of course, why we need female-led shows like Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale – both of which were praised at the 2017 Emmy Awards. But, as Kidman notes, there is so much more that needs to be done, with a “need to support and celebrate each other more than ever”.
Kidman paints a beautiful picture of solidarity by quipping, “I like to believe I am part of a global support group network of 3.4 billion” as a description of the female population.
The actor furthers this by explaining that, as part of this support group, we need to forge forward together to “realise our respective dreams and goals, who in moments of self-doubt provide the assurance that we are strong and beautiful in myriad ways, and who tell us that yes, we can do whatever we set our minds on”.
In the full version of Kidman’s letter she also shares her experience working with victims of domestic violence with the UN and her Big Little Lies role – something which Kidman was keen to talk about in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series.
“Sometimes when you're acting, you get a chance to bring a bigger message,” she said emotionally. “We shone a light on domestic abuse.
“It is a complicated, insidious disease, and it exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame and secrecy, and by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more.”
Kidman’s feminist battle-cry is not the only one featured in Porter’s annual Incredible Women list. In fact, the special-edition of the magazine celebrates the achievements of 50 inspiring women, including ballerina Misty Copeland, Fox whistleblower Gretchen Carlson and co-presidents of the Women’s March Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.
Carlson’s letter, much like Kidman’s, urges readers to stand up against sexism.
The respected news anchor – who successfully sued Fox News for $20 million on charges of sexual harassment – reflected upon the “people pleaser” nature that is so often associated with women.
We need to stand up to sexism, Carlson continues, by “collectively deciding to speak up and stand up, we can all become warriors in the path for a better future for us and our children”.
Porter magazine’s winter issue will go on sale globally on Friday 29 September, in which the full Incredible Women list will be published, as well as the full letters from Kidman and Carlson.
Images: Rex Features