Why Did Meryl Streep Call Emma Thompson a "Man-Eating Feminist" in a Disney Speech?
Meryl Streep has a reputation for speaking her mind on a variety of topics.
The three-time Academy Award winner has occasionally used her platform to raise awareness about real-life issues that affect people of all walks of life.
In one case, the actress used her celebrity to express her disapproval of Disney.
In the process, she brought up her good friend Emma Thompson.
At the National Board of Review Gala in 2014, Meryl Streep gave a powerful speech.
The Little Women star took the time to thank Walt Disney before presenting the award for best actress.
Disney had been accused of anti-Semitic and sexist tendencies, which Streep used to blast the animator.
According to Vanity Fair, "some of his associates reported that Walt Disney didn't really like women."
She would later make direct reference to the Disney founder's alleged policies and beliefs.
"Disney, who arguably brought joy to billions of people, was perhaps, or had some... racist proclivities," Streep said. "He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobby."
"And he was unquestionably a gender bigot, based on his company's policies."
Streep mentioned Emma Thompson, to whom she was presenting the Gala's best actress award, during her speech, emphasizing not only Thompson's accomplishments but also her cause.
"Emma thinks, 'Is this helpful?' Not, 'Will it build my brand?' Not, 'Will it give me billions?'" said Streep.
Streep referred to both Thompson and herself as feminists while referencing a letter Disney wrote to an aspiring female animator.
"Here's a letter from 1938 explaining his company's policy to a young woman named Mary Ford from Arkansas who had applied to Disney for the cartooning training program," Streep said.
"And I'm going to read it here in Emma's tribute because I know it'll tickle our honoree, because she, like me, is a rabid, man-eating feminist."
After that, Streep read a letter from Walt Disney to Mary Ford, in which he claimed that women aren't allowed to do creative work at Disney.
Thompson's creativity, humanity, and personality were highlighted by the Mamma Mia! alum to disprove Disney's alleged sexism.
"There's something so comforting about that old trope," Streep complimented, "but Emma makes you want to kill yourself, because she's a beautiful artist, a writer, a thinker, a living, acting conscience."
Although Streep may have declared herself a feminist at one point, she may have later changed her mind.
Not only in the entertainment industry, but in all walks of life, Meryl Streep has been a strong advocate for women's rights.
Streep once sent a package to Congress to make it illegal to discriminate against women, according to The Guardian.
In her own industry, she's been given suggestions on how to achieve gender balance in the workplace.
"When their voices dominate, men should look at the world as if something is wrong, and they should feel it," Streep said.
"People at agencies and studios, including parent boards, may feel something is wrong if half of their decision-making participants are not women, because our tastes are different, and what we value is different. Not better, different."
Streep, on the other hand, was adamant about not putting a label on her actions or feelings.
Streep declined to say whether she was a feminist when asked.
Instead, she gave herself a new moniker.
"I am a humanist," said Streep.
"I'm in favor of a nice, easy balance."
This response infuriated some fans and bloggers, who wanted Streep to own up to her feminist moniker.
"Meryl Streep's refusal to use the term 'feminist' in reference to herself, despite the fact that everything she's done recently screams 'feminist,' has me scratching my head so hard I'm starting to see scalp," one blogger wrote.