When I daydream about Susan Sarandon, which is often, I like to imagine her in a superhero costume with a giant “F” blazoned across her chest. I have been a fan of hers for years, but over the past few months I’ve come to consider her one of my feminist role models. While I may not share the same political beliefs, I admire her passionately outspoken demeanor about social issues and her willingness to stand her ground on topics that are close to her heart. Along with being a talented actress, Susan Sarandon is an activist, speaking out on issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, the environment, abortion, sexism, ageism, and more.
I’m not sure when Sarandon sleeps — the woman is everywhere, appearing at film festivals, on film sets, and at political rallies. It’s completely impressive that this woman has remained such a force to be reckoned with after decades in Hollywood while at the same time being completely dedicated to her family.
I could chronicle Sarandon’s feminist badassery going back decades, but I’m instead going to highlight her greatest feminist hits of 2016. Given that she’s always on the go, this list will likely fail to cover every amazingly feminist thing she’s done this year.
Earlier this year, Sarandon rocked a daring white suit that visibly displayed a sexy black bra and ample cleavage at the 2016 SAG awards. Public response was divided: some applauded her for embracing her sexuality at 69 and others shamed her for choosing a “tacky” outfit to wear while presenting an In Memoriam tribute. Piers Morgan tweeted his disapproval and sparked a Twitter war aptly dubbed #cleavagegate, spawning intense criticism from Sarandon and thousands of supporters who flooded his Twitter handle with photos of supporters embracing their cleavage. The problem is not whether or not it was appropriate to wear a revealing outfit to pay a mournful tribute to those who have recently passed away. The problem is instead the shame directed at a woman her age for baring her body.
- Shots fired
In keeping with using public venues as platforms, Sarandon called out Woody Allen at an event during the Cannes Film Festival back in May. When asked to comment about Allen, Sarandon responded, “I have nothing good to say about Woody Allen, so I don’t think we should go there. I think he sexually assaulted a child and I don’t think that’s right. It’s gotten very quiet in here, but that’s true.” By blatantly bringing attention to the insidious allegations that have been made about Woody Allen since 1993, Sarandon forced the media to pay attention to a man who is often applauded as a film genius — and is often overlooked as a rapist.
- Feeling the Bern
You would have to be living under a rock not to know how avidly Sarandon supports Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate. Whether you’re feeling the Bern or with HRC, it’s hard not to admire her passionate support of her Democrat of choice. She has rallied and campaigned for the senator and has taken to twitter to advocate for him. Not only does she vocally encourage people of all ages to get out and vote, she challenges us to ask questions before casting that vote. Knowing the issues and making an informed choice is so, so important.
- A Voice for the Voiceless
Partnering with RYOT and the Huffington Post, Sarandon spent her holidays in Lesbos, Greece to document the refugee crisis via blog posts, videos, and photos. Rather than reiterate the tragedies of the war in Syria, Sarandon spent time with refugees to humanize the faces of who this war is impacting. In The Crossing, the virtual realist film and reporting series that Sarandon hosted, she says, “I think this is a moment in history that’s moral, and that we have to stop thinking of people as concepts because that itself is a violent act and think of them as human beings that want for their kids what we want for our kids. We have to talk about it in terms of morality and not politics.”
I, for one, can’t wait to see what else Susan Sarandon will do this year.