For a magazine and a society that generally defines beauty based on physical appearance alone, People Magazine surprised me when they picked Sandra Bullock to be the 2015 World’s Most Beautiful Woman for reasons other than her stunning good looks. Sandra is absolutely gorgeous, but the best part about her is there’s so much more to her than her outer beauty, and I’m so excited that People recognized that! Even on the cover of the magazine, the quote reads, “What is beautiful is the honor of being Louis’ mother.” In addition to being a single mom, Sandra is an inspiration to women everywhere because she pushes the boundaries in the film industry and stands up for women and what she believes in Hollywood and outside of it.
Women can be the heroes too.
Many of you have probably watched or at least heard of the movie, The Heat, that stars Sandra Bullock alongside Melissa McCarthy. This really is one of the first (if not the first) movie of its kind that has two women in the lead roles. These “buddy movies” are usually reserved for men, just like in 21 Jump Street and Dumb and Dumber, but Sandra wouldn’t have it. “I was always longing to do, emotionally and physically, what my male counterparts always got to do. I just felt envious, every time I saw a movie that I was in awe of, and it was usually a male lead. And those kinds of roles weren’t available. They just weren’t being written.” With this dynamic duo paving the way for women to star in roles other than the damsel in distress or the sidekick, we’re hoping Hollywood will listen and more of these roles will make it to the big screen.
Do what makes you happy, whatever that is.
Sandra is not shy about letting the world know how much she loves being a mother and how she ultimately wants to be a stay-at-home mom, but she also wants the world to know that her decision doesn’t make her “not a feminist.” As a true feminist, Sandra believes that women should have the right to choose who they want to be and what they want to do, and what Sandra wants and loves to do is be a mom--and that’s perfectly okay! She says, “If I die tomorrow, will I have gotten everything in the world I’ve ever wanted? No. But I will have gotten everything that’s made me happiest,” which is all that really matters. If motherhood makes you happy, that’s great! If making a career for yourself is your deepest desire, that’s great too. Just don’t let others decide who you should be and what should make you happy.
You don’t need no man.
Another equality issue that Sandra has taken up is the idea that women have to have a man to be successful, or that for women to enjoy a movie, there must be some kind of romantic element embedded in it. She says, “I don’t understand why there needs to be a love interest to make women go see a film. I think society sort of makes us feel that way -- that if you don’t have a guy, you’re worthless.” Sandra adopted her son, Louis, on her own after her divorce with Jesse James and says that she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything by not having a man because “The only man who has stolen [her] heart is [her] son.”
But wanting one is perfectly fine, too.
On the other hand, Sandra doesn’t want anyone to get the idea that she’s “anti-love” either. She says, “Falling in love -- you should go with it, regardless of whether or not your heart gets smashed. You’ll be a better person.” She wants to communicate that falling in love is not a bad thing at all; it’s just not something she’s looking for at the moment. A few of the more extreme “feminists” somehow got the idea that falling in love and settling down is “anti-feminist,” but Sandra doesn’t see it that way and neither do I. The way I see it (and I think Sandra would agree), when it comes to love, you shouldn’t have to have a significant other to feel complete. But, if you want to fall in love, you should dive in headfirst, even if it doesn’t work out. No one should stop you because that’s what feminism is all about: choice. As Sandra says, “I’ve made mistakes, and I know why I made them, but I made that choice. Nobody’s ever made a choice for me.”
We’re in this together.
One aspect about Sandra that other women should be inspired by is the lack of drama she involves herself in. She dated fellow actor, Matthew McConaughey, for less than a year in the 90s, but has since remained friends with him and has even developed a friendship with his current wife, Camila Alves. She has expressed that she and Matthew are better off as friends, and even though he is with someone else now, she does not display any jealousy towards Camila. The two take their children on play dates together all the time! She does not try to compete with her ex-boyfriend’s current wife and doesn’t let any of her romantic history with Matthew come between their friendship.
Especially considering the Nicki and T-Swift (plus a little Katy Perry) feud on Twitter recently, we’ve seen even otherwise level-headed women pit themselves against each other if they have a disagreement or are jealous of one another. I’m sure Sandra was shaking her head along with the rest of us because she has said, “I identify with the person who is very comfortable with themselves and isn’t fueled by competing with every other woman. It wastes a lot of time.” Chicks before, well, you know what. The moral of the story is: don’t let petty drama come between you and other women. We should all be supporting one another because when one of us wins an award or finds true love or scores an awesome job (even if you haven’t yet), we all win because we’re in this together.
Most importantly, love yourself.
What makes Sandra more beautiful and inspirational than anything is the love she has for herself, which translates into loving others. Even though she is one of the most attractive, talented women in the world, Sandra has struggled with her fair share of insecurities, but she refuses to let them define her. She says, “I’ve made peace with the fact that the things that I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me. I like them.” She’s a champion of acceptance, whether it’s accepting yourself or others, Sandra believes that, “There is no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love.”