CelebritiesDouble Standards

Interpreting Foster’s Speech: The Fight for Privacy

Jodie Foster came out by not coming out because she’d already come out, then complained about the general lack of privacy after giving up more of hers.

At least, that’s what I think happened at the Golden Globes on Sunday. I’m still a little confused.

People have been sure for years that Foster was gay. She apparently never came right out and confirmed the rumors, but the rumors existed for so long that they just seemed to become accepted as fact. That’s how people are, unfortunately.

Foster started by announcing that she was about to make a big announcement, only to reveal that she was…“single.” She then played up the notion that everyone must have assumed that she was going to come out. “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago,” she added.

But then she turned her attention to the issue of privacy, joking that she was breaking the rules because these days, when celebrities decide to come out, they “honour the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.”

Explaining her own position, she made a perfectly valid point:

“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.”

Okay, I get it: you’re a public figure who basically grew up on film. You’re a celebrity. Everyone wants to know everything about every detail of your life, things that are clearly none of their business. You have every right to your privacy, just as your fans have a right to theirs.

But don’t then make such a show of coming out, or not coming out, depending on how you read what she said; you are only fueling the fire you claim you hate to begin with.

Why do I need to know of Foster’s sexual orientation? Is it supposed to make me want to see more of her movies? (It doesn’t.)

Being gay means you will be treated differently, unfairly, unkindly. But there are already what Foster would likely call “poster children” for the cause who’ve had their press conference and who are already likely in development of their signature fragrance and in talks for their reality show.

How many more of those do we need?

I can absolutely respect privacy, even if I can’t relate to what child stars experience as they grow up in the public eye.

But there comes a point at which you have to decide how much privacy you’re actually willing to give up, no matter what the rumor mills are or aren’t whispering about you. Here’s a clue: there’ll always be someone whispering about you somewhere and about something. It’s a sad part of the human condition, granted, but it’s true.

If you complain that you don’t like giving up your privacy, yet you let people into your private life, anyway, how, exactly, are you solving this problem?

1 Comment

  1. If there is one thing that I learned is that we never know
    why someone comes out. We don’t know what happened in her life, she might have
    been hassled by the press and felt that this might get them to stop.
    We don’t know the stress in her life right now. One of the
    exercises that I do in my diversity training is to divide the class in half and
    tell them to write down what they did over the weekend. After they write it
    down, I tell them to pair up with the other half of the class and they have 5
    minutes to talk about what they did for the weekend. But they cannot talk about
    anything that they wrote down.
    The object of the exercise is to show how hard it not to be
    able to talk about your life, it is very stressful and can lead to all type of
    medical and psychological problems. Before I came out and I went away for a
    couple of days my employees use to ask, like we all ask other employees, “What
    did you do on your days off?” I had to lie and said that I helped my brother on
    his house because I couldn’t say I went up to Provincetown and went to a
    trans-conference. Living two lives if hard and lying takes a lot out of you.
    Maybe Jodie Foster just got tired of lying about what she did.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.