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Film and TV

Cynthia Nixon narrates powerful and eye-opening video about the reality of being a woman in 2020

Lily Wakefield February 25, 2020
Cynthia Nixon

Actress and LGBT+ activist Cynthia Nixon narrated the video. (Paul McLean/ Vimeo)

Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has narrated a powerful video showing the conflicting and damaging messages women are bombarded with every day.

The video was produced for Girls. Girls. Girls magazine, and the piece she recites, written by Camille Rainville, is titled: “Be a lady, they said.”

It explores the immense pressure on women’s bodies, appearance, behaviour and sexuality, usually for the benefit of men.

The actress and LGBT+ activist, staring directly into the camera, says: “Be a lady, they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Don’t show so much skin. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination.

“Don’t be a temptress, men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it.”

On Vimeo, the video currently has 1.3 million views, and is cut with clips of models and fashion shoots, as well as Donald Trump and the Pope.

Nixon continues: “Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs, skip dessert, go on a diet. God, you look like a skeleton!

“Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated, you look sick. Men like women with some meat on their bones… Remove your body hair. Bleach this, bleach that.

“Eradicate your scars, cover your stretch marks, plump your lips, botox your wrinkles, lift your face, tuck your tummy, perk up your boobs. Look natural. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.”

The video starring Cynthia Nixon was released the day before Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape.

The video moves on to focus on sexuality and consent, a point that is especially poignant as the day after it was released Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape. 

Nixon says: “Save yourself. Be pure. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so uptight. Smile more… Be a lady, they said.

“Don’t talk too loud, don’t talk too much. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry, don’t yell. Don’t swear.

“Endure the pain, don’t complain, fold his clothes, cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job… Don’t get raped. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that, don’t get drunk, don’t smile at strangers.

“Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes, don’t say no, just be a lady, they said.”

Nixon wrote on Instagram that she was “proud to be involved with this powerful film that has struck a chord with so many people around the world”.

She has recently returned to acting and is set to direct a groundbreaking lesbian Broadway show, Last Summer at Bluefish Covewhich will be produced by Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi.

More: Camille Rainville, Cynthia Nixon, girls. girls. girls. magazine, Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault

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