UN ambassador Nicole Kidman tackles violence against women
By: Marlee Kostiner
The notion of celebrity has always intrigued me.
They receive so much in return for being beautiful and talented. Money. Fame. Gifts. Attention. They are in a position that is so sought after and so revered. People actually care what celebrities do on a daily basis and will go to surprising lengths to imitate them, from where they get their coffee to what brand of jeans they’re wearing. As you know, there are even websites dedicated to tracking celebrities’ every move, ahem, Perez Hilton. I’ll admit, I’m definitely not all innocent here… not in the least.
When you think about this obsession we have, it’s actually kind of creepy. It’s pretty much a fact of life for celebrities and I say: celebs should take these lemons and make lemonade. Sure, we may be stalking celebs’ every move, but why not turn this weird cultural phenomenon into something positive? Many celebs have already made the leap.
When the whole world is watching, why not do something that’s actually useful to society? It was so refreshing to see Nicole Kidman in the news last month, not because she dyed her hair or wore a scandalous dress, but because she headed to Washington in her role as a UN ambassador to support legislation aimed at tackling violence against women.
She actually accused Hollywood of contributing to violence against women by portraying them as sex objects.
The Guardian reported that when asked whether the film industry had a negative influence on the way films portray women, Kidman replied “Probably,” before saying that she refused to take roles that portrayed women as weak sexual objects. “I can’t be responsible for all of Hollywood, but I can certainly be responsible for my own career.”
Kidman has worked for the UN since 1994 when she became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), and has represented the UN Development Fund for Women (Unifem) since 2006.
An article in the Belfast Telegraph said: “Using Nicole Kidman to front a campaign — no matter how worthwhile — really does call into question the whole dubious notion of goodwill ambassadors. These unpaid worthies, according to the UN, “use their fame to draw attention to important issues.””
So what? Why diminish the fact that these hot commodities could be making money doing something stupid but chose to volunteer their time doing something worthwhile? Sure, their publicist is probably thrilled because it will make them more likeable. Sure, it may help them land that role in the next blockbuster. But seriously, who cares? The point is that they are doing something good and if it’s raising awareness for issues like violence against women, why complain?
According to the American Free Press, Kidman told Congress that violence against women and girls was “perhaps the most systematic, widespread human rights violation in the world.”
“I am far from an expert, I rely on the people I’ve met to make the case,” admitted the actress, adding that it “recognizes no borders, no race or class.”
The International Violence Against Women Act is currently under debate. If passed, it could greatly influence US foreign policy in relations with countries where there is a lack of women’s rights.
AFP also explained that Kidman said systematic rape in ethnic conflict, forced marriage at an early age and domestic violence required treatment “not with a box of band aids but with a comprehensive, well-funded approach that acknowledges that women’s rights are human rights.”
It’s clear that the beautiful bombshell is more than just a pretty face and is actually using her celebrity for good. So will we ever be able to focus on all the good that celebs are doing instead of constantly gossiping about the superficial aspects of their lives? I doubt it. But maybe we can, at least, have a balance of both, and that’s better than nothing.