Barbara Streisiand's Speech at the 1992 Crystal Awards

Barbara Streisiand's Speech at the 1992 Crystal Awards

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Barbara Streisiand's Speech at the 1992 Crystal Awards


In Barbra Streisiand's speech at the 1992 Crystal Awards, she expresses discontent with the negative "way women are viewed in a male dominated society". She has a strong dislike for the fact that women and men are respected and admired for reasons that are so alike and defined degradingly different. I understand her anger and I think she is handeling it in the most effective manner possible. She is at the ceremony to present or receive an award. In theory, she should be giving a speech to the committee that has recognized her work, thanking them for validating her creative spirit, and thanking everyone for their support. She was supposed to be happy, shining, graceful, and content. But instead of being all of these things, she was angry and she expressed herself.
"Language gives us an insight…", a very limited, negative, and opinionated definition of women. She used her power and status and power to promote her beliefs and I am positive that this speech did not go smoothly with the critics. Streisiand is aware that we live in a world that pisses on women's legs and tries to conveince us it is raining. This means we have been 'given' psuedo-equality. The world has started to recognize that a woman can be androgynous, but it is still very critical of female strength and determination. I am in school to be an attorney and at sixteen I worked my first internship.
The program required us to become familiar with the true nature of what it means to practice law. There were two of us assigned to the firm. Chad was automatically taken into client meetings and assigned to case evaluations. I was automatically taken to the firm's executive secretary. For two or three weeks Mrs. Brenda showed me how to prepare coffee, make copies, file transcripts, take effective case notes, order the boss's lunch, and how to be the background to the male foreground of the firm. Lord knows that I was grateful for my chance to work at one of the top firms in Dallas, but the Lord also knew that I did not aspire to be a secretary. I asked Mrs. Brenda when will I go into client meetings and start to do case research and she asked why would I want to do that. She said that "Women don't do certain things in this firm".

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From my observation of the place women sat at cubicles, slaved for male bosses, and were beautiful-and that was their job. I was shocked and I went to the director of the firm and asked if I could be reassigned to research and case work because I had the art in preparing coffee mastered. Mr. McCall laughed for a minute and said, "Well Missy, you sure are aggressive and demanding but it will get you far. I personally think it is more important to be respected than liked." . I did not know what to do, but did know I was hurt and embarrassed.
At the tender age of sixteen I walked into the glass wall. I realized this in my evaluation when one of the associates advised me to stop being so brash and tone down my attitude. Chad was praised for being assertive, committed, and uncompromising. The year Barbra Streisand made this speech was the year of my internship. I respect her bravery and reality. She calls attention to the way we act every time we as a society accept the double standard, it only perpetuates the inequality. Anita Hill's situation with sexual harassment was a breakthrough, simply because women united for her to be heard. But the fact that there were and still are no women on the Senate judiciary Committee is still a picture of the sad, nonprogressive state of our country. "We are a remarkable breed", strong and committed to change. It is not enough to change the measure of the yard stick, if the new stick is not equal.
I applaud her honesty and her determination to support women's achievements . She is calling us to action and our instinct to be leaders-she is challenging us to stand up for each other at all cost.
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