Negotiating Culture and Connection


Meryl Streep on Stories
“You have no idea how much work goes into being as good as Maryl is or for making it look as effortless as she makes it look
, says Nora Ephron who highly recommends having Meryl Streep play you at the AFI awards. The audience seems to agree.

Meryl Streep is highly relatable whether she's playing Julia Child, Karen Silkwood, Miranda Priestly, Donna Sheridan, or herself. She's so good people don't really notice. I call her at the end of the day to find out how I did and inevitably it's one of the best days I've ever had,” says Ephron.

There is a little bit of us in each of Streep's complex characters. But it is still a limited pool of stories, pebbles in the vast expanse of superheros journeys. In cultural terms#, Americans share the unconscious assumption that the base unit of American culture is the individual. Studios, companies (including startups), and most event organizers continue to bet on that individual being male.

At the 2015 Women in the World Summit in New York City, legendary actress Meryl Streep talked about the abundance of male characters in art and history, saying she would rather be Peter Pan, not Tinkerbell or Wendy. Tom Sawyer, not Becky.

John Stewart asks about the challenges of breaking through in a male-dominated world. Streep says:

“A lot has to do with imagination and this active empathy women go through. From the time we're little girls we read all of literature, all of history. It's really about boys, most of it. But I can feel more like Peter Pan than Tinker Bell, or Wendy… I want to be Tom Sawyer, not Becky…

And we 're so used with that active empathizing of male-driven plot, and that's what we've done all of our lives… great literature, Shakespeare… it's all fellas.

They've never had to do the other thing. And the hardest thing, for me, as an actor, is to have a story that men in the audience feel like they know what I feel like. That's a really hard thing. It's very hard for them to put themselves in the shoes of a female protagonist…

This is known to the studios, they know it's the toughest suit of clothes to wear.

It's the reason why it is so hard to talk about feelings and communication in business environments. We could accomplish so much more, if we could connect with this idea that talking through issues with honesty and a desire to hear and see different points of view is an effective path to create better experiences.

 

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