It's time to hold all our celebrities to the Keanu Reeves standard of excellence.
Everyone loves Keanu Reeves, and it's not hard to figure out why.
He's kind––he once bought an ice cream cone he didn't even want just so he could sign the receipt paper for a young fan. He's generous––he quietly donates millions of dollars to philanthropic causes and famously gave away the majority of his Matrix paycheck to ensure the special effects team got paid what he thought they deserved. He's also apparently single, which makes him available.
But the craziest thing about Keanu Reeves' amazingness is that he's really not so "amazing" at all; he's just a genuinely decent person, which makes him stand out amidst the wasteland of egoism, greed, and selfishness that makes up most of celebrity culture. Keanu Reeves' behavior shouldn't be an exception amongst celebrity millionaires. It should be the baseline.
John Wick is pretty amazing, though.Credit: Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate
Many people were shocked when the #MeToo movement first swept through Hollywood, outing influential, powerful people, one after another, as sexual predators. But perhaps we should have seen it coming. Our celebrity culture revolves around putting people on pedestals solely based on how much we like their movies or music or physical appearances. We prop them up like gods, ignoring rumors about their entitlement, their meanness, and their sexism until the allegations pile up too high to ignore, and even then we defend them. We give them millions of dollars in ticket sales and downloads and merchandise, knowing full well that they treat the people around them like crap when the cameras aren't rolling. And then we're surprised when these terrible people do terrible things.
Even worse, we regard someone like Keanu Reeves as "special" for doing the things everyone else should be doing in the first place. While it's admirable that Keanu Reeves relinquishes so much out of his paychecks to make sure various behind-the-scenes teams get paid more, we should be asking why these other people who are so integral to the production of any movie––stunt teams, costume departments, camera crews, etc.––are so underpaid in the first place, especially when the leading actors get paid so much.
Why do so many actors who publicly speak out against various inequalities also tacitly accept working on sets where they get paid so much more than everyone else around them? Shouldn't more celebrities be putting their money where their mouths are and taking action like Keanu? Even celebrity charity donations tend to take place in front of cameras. Imagine if the wealthiest 1% of Americans just quietly donated because they wanted to make the world a better place––like Keanu Reeves does––rather than seeking good publicity.That's not to say there are
- 50 reasons why you're right to love Keanu Reeves ›
- Here's Some Proof That Keanu Reeves Is Basically The Nicest ... ›
- Keanu Reeves has a secret foundation that has been helping ... ›
- 11 Reasons Why Keanu Reeves Is The Best - Dorkly Post ›
- 5 Stories of Keanu Reeves Being the Best Person Ever - IGN ›
- Keanu Reeves Being Awesome ›
- Why Is Keanu Reeves Considered One of the Nicest Actors in ... ›
- The Greatest And Completely True Keanu Reeves Stories Ever Told ›
- Keanu Reeves is the most thoughtful, kind human being on the ... ›
- 12 Keanu Reeves Stories That Prove He's a Living Legend ›
Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.