The only predictable thing about Cate Blanchett is that she resists predictability. As she told W back in 2015, “I so admire Picasso’s unwillingness to be predictable.” So it’s perhaps not surprising that when the actress accepted a Style Icon Award at the InStyle Awards, Blanchett spent less time talking about herself than others. Specifically, she spoke out in defense of womens’ rights to wear whatever they please without judgment.
“For me, the true icons of style, and I think there’s a bit of a theme emerging here tonight, it’s that for me it’s always those women who’ve been utterly themselves without apology—whose physical presence and their aesthetic is really integrated in a non self-conscious way,” she said at the event, as the embodiment of that in a Givenchy striped dress. “Women who know how they look, it’s not all of who they are but just an extension of that, and it’s about women who feel free to wear what they want when they want and how they want to wear it.”
Feeling free to wear what you want should also mean being free of unwanted attention for doing so, as Blanchett explained. “Women like looking sexy, but it doesn’t mean we want to f— you. No one says to Steve Bannon, ‘you look like a bag of trash,” she said. “Do you want me to throw you out?’ But the comments that get said about what women wear on the red carpet—I mean. If you troll through those trolls on the Internet, just don’t.”
Blanchett’s feminist and political comments are no doubt part of a larger conversation about the systematic sexism in Hollywood, as well as politics. Most recently, that has included the dozens-and-counting of allegations against infamous film executive Harvey Weinstein, including from actresses such as Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, and Lena Headey, to name a handful. While Blanchett has not commented on whether or not she’s had similar experiences throughout her career, her acceptance speech has a subtext that victim blaming is never okay. As Laura Dern said, when she shared her own experience with sexual assault on Ellen, “There was no one there who didn’t say they’d had the experience. The most exciting part of it is in moving forward… to have a place you can feel safe, even anonymously to reach out and say there is an abusive power here, and there’s something that’s not okay.”