What We Can All Learn From Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes Speech

By now, you’ve probably watched or at least, heard about Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at last night’s Golden Globes. Today, the internet is a abuzz with reactions to her “coming out” speech. Foster dropped the declaration that we’ve all been waiting for:

“I’m just going to put it out there right, loud and proud … I am, uh, single … I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming out speech tonight. I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age. Those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”

Met, being the operative word, Foster went on to comment on the issue of privacy, joking that nowadays, celebrities are expected to honor the details of their private lives “with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.”

Indirectly addressing past criticism from the LGBT community for avoiding ever making a political statement about her sexual orientation, Foster explained her reasons for keeping her private life private:

“If you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you, too, might value privacy above all else.”

She’s right. I get it. The American public is invasive when it comes to celebrities’ private lives. It’s none of our business who Jodie Foster (or anyone for that matter) loves or what the nature of her relationship with her long-time partner Cydney Bernard (who she referred to as “my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life”,) or why she’s friends with Mel Gibson. I still don’t get that. I don’t think I ever will. But I’ll give her a pass on it for now because she moved me so deeply.

All of this was very powerful and no doubt inspiring for the LGBT community, but her speech really got epic for me when she “came out” as herself:

“This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else … From now on, I may be holding a different talking stick … but it will be my writing on the wall. Jodie Foster was here. I still am and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to not be so very lonely.”

Damn, that’s when I broke out the Kleenex. I think what Foster was trying to communicate is that when you try to cloister any part of yourself off from the world, celebrity or not, gay or not, what results is a feeling of deep loneliness and disconnectedness, like the world doesn’t see the real you. So, in the process of trying to safeguard your privacy, you are depriving the world of everything you have to offer. You are being a little bit less yourself.

After the show, when reporters asked Why now?, Foster explained that it was a big moment for her and she “wanted to say what [was] most in [her] heart.” I think that’s the takeaway here, when you speak the truth, and it comes from your heart, it’s hard to go wrong. Foster was clearly ready to share her whole self with the world. To say, “I’m tired of fighting and FUCK IT. Here I am!” So, thank you, Jodie Foster, for showing us all what that looks like. Whatever she does from here on out (Foster confirmed that she will not be retiring from acting), I think we can expect it that it will be 100 percent wholehearted. [CBS]