Actor Activist Caitlin Stasey Talks Ending The Love Affair with Selfies.
Caitlin Stasey has mastered the art of the eloquent Instagram rant. Between her comfort on camera (she’s an actress by trade) and her deep passion for human and animal rights, she can easily rally a virtual crowd — and often does — combating views often battling it out in her comment section. After a few years of avidly being a leading voice in matters of women’s rights to bare bodies as they please and breaking down the corrupt corners of our culture, Caitlin is almost radio silent about her views on a public front. So much so that she’s wiped her Instagram of all previous posts. Not in what could feel like a dramatic stance, but the effort towards a clean slate.
In the effort to capture some of Caitlin’s candid digestions of modern life that so often make us do a double take on how we’ve been conducting ourselves, we sat down with her to get some words on her views on the newest wave of feminism, finding boundaries in Hollywood, and her very personal work to come.
Vérité Woman: In a time that is so contextually “woke” it feels like one can’t be apart of the conversation on social media without stating opinions and stance on everything to prove our own mental capacity, awareness, or status as a human in this modern society. As someone who has used her platform to be so vocal for so long, can you share where you are at now with the conversation?
Caitlin Stasey: I’ve sort of reached an impasse, as a white/cis/able-bodied woman I’m realizing it’s my turn to listen — I still feel that women like me are subjugated and dismissed but not with the same violence, vitriol and undermining that is designated to women of color, women with disabilities or trans women.
VW: How do you feel about the feminist movement on social media, do you feel like we are getting somewhere or is it an echo chamber dividing different understandings of the notion?
CS: I think it’s both, I’ve come to really loathe social media and it’s beating drum but at the same time I implore those who use it to shed light on some murkier and difficult truths — without social media and the dissemination of information through it you wouldn’t have these great surging movements like Me Too or Black Lives Matter – of course, civil rights movements are born on the ground but the internet has helped project them into everyone’s field of vision.
VW: I’ve been thinking a lot about how women unintentionally affect one another via social outlets. It’s that whole “her life looks perfect, I wish mine was like that”. What would you like other women who may think you “have it all” to know about Caitlin Stasey?
CS: I don’t and dissatisfaction is a state anyone can occupy, I’m super duper lucky and by every metric I live a privileged existence but I still feel lonely, scared, helpless and frustrated — I’ve spent a lot of time working to overcome my own negativity and sadness only to discover that they’re as much a part of me as anything else.
VW: Has there been a time when you’ve struggled with your place as a woman in terms of work boundaries, the opposite sex, finding your voice? Explain how you grew out of those or solved them.
CS: I’ve felt undermined a lot, I’ve been asked to do things at work purely because I’m a woman. Because I’m an actor people often don’t take me seriously and expect that I’m just there for show, ornamental — but acting is my job just as being a lawyer or teacher or architect might be yours. It’s work, it’s great to work when you can get it but it still works and I’ve often been treated like a dumb child in my working environments. I’ve learned to be more diplomatic but to also take myself and my time seriously, you don’t get to call me “darling” “sweetie” or “beautiful” just because I’m a young woman, I’m your fucking coworker.
VW: You recently wrote a TV show with your husband, what was that collaborative process like?
CS: It was difficult at first, I’m hypercritical and have super high expectations — I love what I love and hate what I hate which often renders me stagnant if something can’t be perfect then why do it at all? It’s a ridiculous mindset that has cost me years, years lost to inactivity but he’s the opposite — a workaholic — and just commits to finishing things, he’s really smart and talented but also not afraid to fail which is something I lack.
CS: I think women loving themselves is so important but as our collective love affair with “selfie culture” is ending I’m beginning to question the means by which we love ourselves, by how I have loved myself — I think we are expanding our tastes and expectations of beauty but there is a consistent through line of self-expression that is quite “Instagrammable” our beauty standards haven’t stretched nearly far enough.