Actress and activist Amber Heard is an inspiration to many — but, she says, it comes at a cost. Heard took the stage this weekend at the Create & Cultivate conference in New York City, where she was interviewed by I Am A Voter ’s Mandana Dayani and shared her reflections on why many high-profile women, from influencers to actresses, feel unable to utilize their power and motivate their following to get involved with politics — even with an act as simple as asking people to vote.
When Dayani shared that some women have told her that the prospect of publicly engaging politically would damage their social media presence, Heard’s reply was passionate.
“Wake up! If you’re happy with that world that we’ve been living in and you’re happy the way things are…then don’t do anything,” she told the audience. “But if you want to see change let’s break it open, why not?”
Heard likened the thought to an example of giving all men a 9 p.m. curfew to rein them in. Then, she implored the audience to use their influence to affect change.
“I would rather go down for being who I am than to be popular for something I am not. Wouldn’t you?” she told the crowd. “So lose the followers [who disagree], you’ll get a lot more!”
Heard delved into the psychology behind women’s online images and the idea that they have to please people and gain clout — at a price.
“Women are always expected to create a brand, even if you don’t have social media
following. By the time you’re 12 years old you have to know that an implicit apology will be
expected of you for how you look,” Heard told the crowd, acknowledging that women are frequently critiqued for the size of their bodies and attractiveness, forcing them to fall into archetypes that may be too narrow and dehumanizing.
Heard explained that women don’t always get to see the diverse representations of themselves in the media because they haven’t been the ones in positions of creative power, able to wield control “behind the camera or the paintbrush.”
“I’ve known a lot of lawyers in my life. Unfortunately, I’ve spent a lot more time with them lately than I’d like,” she said before thanking Dayani, who is also a lawyer, for her humanity, compassion, and “unstoppable force.”
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