You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shonda Rhimes Speaks Up For Feminism at Global Women’s Rights Awards

Shondaland and Team “Orange” joined forces to celebrate their respective showrunners, Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan, on Monday at the 10th annual Global Women’s Rights Awards at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. They were honored for “changing the face of media” by the Feminist Majority Foundation.

“How to Get Away with Murder” star Viola Davis summed up the evening’s feminist message by introducing Rhimes with a proclamation. “Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful and successful forces in television today. And she’s a woman.”

Rhimes proceeded to carry the feminist torch with declarations including, “I absolutely love being a woman,” “it never occurred to me not to love it,” and, with a wink, “I mean, I think I’m fabulous.”

She told a story about her assistant who expressed wanting to be a man for a day to know how it feels “to have all of that.” Rhimes repeated the refrain, meditating on the complexity of the suggestion.

“My assistant wants to walk through the world just for a day without some guy hitting on her when she runs to Starbucks to get me coffee,” Rhimes said before tumbling deeper into her assistant’s mind. “She wants to not be called ‘cute’ by the security guard. She wants to not be told that she should be a model. She wants to not see the look of surprise on someone’s face when she tells them where she went to college. She wants her boobs to no longer be a topic of conversation. She wants to no longer make 70 cents on the dollar. She wants to not have old men legislate her vagina’s rights. She wants to not know that a glass ceiling ever existed. She wants to not believe that having a baby would end her career. She wants everything in the world to be made for her, be about her and speak mostly to her. Because that’s how it is for men.”

Rhimes said that, in the moment, she rejected her assistant’s idea because it raised a terrifying truth, and “we don’t have time to be terrified.” She closed by clarifying her platform. “I don’t even want men wishing they could be women,” she said. “I just want those words ‘all of that,’ to apply to all of us.”

“Orange is the New Black” creator Kohan expressed her trepidation about following Rhimes’ acceptance speech. “Sucks following Shonda,” she laughed. “She’s so good at this stuff. But I love her and I love her work.”

And love for Kohan was overflowing from the “Orange” cast who came out to support her, including Taylor Schilling who gushed over her showrunner. “Jenji’s strength and individuality and her sense of freedom and gutsiness powerfully impacted me professionally, obviously, but personally as well,” she said. “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

Laverne Cox joined in on the love-fest with sincerity, gratitude and humility. “She’s just done so much for so many of us,” she said. “Three years ago I was thinking about going back to grad school. I could barely pay my rent. She’s changed my life and all of the people’s lives who have been touched by this show.”

More Scene

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

  • Lyliana Wray, Sam Ashe Arnold, Miya

    ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ Revival Team on Living Up to the Series’ Legacy

    The 2019 revival of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” centers around the Carnival of Doom, a place that star Jeremy Ray Taylor (“It Chapter Two”) describes as “beautiful on the outside, but…in the middle of it, there are definitely dark secrets. Variety caught up with the young star during a carnival-themed celebration at Row DTLA [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content