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Michelle Williams Used Her Golden Globe Win to Make a Powerful Statement on Abortion Rights

Michelle Williams is no stranger to using her platform to speak out on issues that affect women. At the Emmys she used the acceptance speech for her role as Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon to speak out about income inequality and the importance of listening to women. Last night she accepted a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a limited series for the same role and took the moment to make a powerful – and very personal – statement about women’s choice.

Despite snideness incarnate in the form of Ricky Gervais lambasting the gathered crowd to not make political speeches because they’re all corrupt, polluting perverts (I’m paraphrasing), Williams took her moment to speak up and in doing so proved Gervais wrong. Actors are people with as much a stake in the politics and perils of our era as anyone.

“When you put this in someone’s hands you’re acknowledging the choices they make as an actor, moment by moment,” Williams began after thanking the HFPA. “But you’re also acknowledging the choices they make as a person.” It was clear she wasn’t just talking about education or acting.

“I’m grateful for the acknowledgment of the choices I’ve made and I’m also grateful to have lived in a moment in our society where choice exists,” Williams went on, over the first smattering of applause. “Because as women and as girls, things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice.” Williams eloquently kept this personal, sharing how she has always tried to live a life of her own making, with her own handwriting upon it.

“And I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to chose.” This was the line that drew sustained applause and meant perhaps more coming from a pregnant Williams. ‘To choose when to have my children and with whom, when I felt supported and able to balance our lives as all mothers know that the scales must and will tip towards our children.”

Williams continued: “Now I know my choices might look different than yours, but thank God or whoever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principles that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours.” But here was the big kicker: “So, women 18 to 118, when it is time to vote please do so in your self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them but don’t forget we are the largest voting body in this country. Let’s make it look more like us.’

It was so moving to hear these words from Williams, and the audience was just as emotional, including William’s best friend Busy Phillips. I hope Williams’ words resonate with the Golden Globe audiences because women do need to start voting in their self-interest especially when abortion rights are under extreme threat.

It’s important for those with a platform to use it, despite what cynical hosts with stale jokes say, and we’re very glad Michelle Williams, who was brilliant in this role and deserves every award she’s won, has used her wins to do some good.

(image: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.