“Because I wear a bikini I don’t have a brain?” Padma Lakshmi, exclaimed to a crowd at a pre-Oscars brunch held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “I don’t pay taxes? I’m not a mother? F–k you!”
The author, model, actress and television host, was emphatically sharing — to a star-studded hotel ballroom — how she “calls out” those who try to tell her to stay out of politics.
Lakshmi, along with former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, actress Constance Wu, actress and director Amber Tamblyn, and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth were part of the Emily’s List Run. Resist. Win. panel, moderated by comedian Chelsea Handler. Emily’s List is an organization that supports Democratic pro-choice women running for office — and there are 34,000 women running for office this year. (Most recently, “Clueless” actress Stacey Dash filed to run for the House of Representatives seat in the 44th district in California.)
“I’ve said this before, and I think this is really true, women are angry and women are organized,” Tamblyn said, when discussing what she calls the “revolution” of the current women’s movement. “We’re angranized. A good combination of those two things.”
The panelists differed in how they personally work to affect change and who they’re trying to reach. Do they try to reach the 53 percent of white women who voted for President Donald Trump? For Tamblyn, yes. For Boxer, she’d like to, but doesn’t see that as a winning strategy.
But they found common ground on the importance of making 1992’s “Year of the Woman” (where women in the U.S. Senate tripled from two to six) the new normal, and the strength of future generations.
Men were also a prominent discussion topic. Wu discussed personally taking the time to try to understand what men are currently going through, while also seeing this moment as an opportunity for men to practice the same empathy toward women who are angry and speaking out.
Boxer, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 and retired in 2016, cautioned against taking a men vs. women stance.
“The idea that we see the world through our lens and only 20 percent of the lens is female in the Congress and over 50 percent of the people are women, this is wrong,” Boxer said referring to the point made by Wu about empathy. “Run as a woman, but bring everyone with you. And I tell you that’s a winning combination.”
Boxer continued, “We can take this country by storm.”