Daily Archives: January 15, 2013

Class, privacy, and Jodie Foster’s rambling acceptance speech

Tenured Radical breaks down Jodie Foster’s Golden Globe speech, pointing out the privilege implicit in her emphasis on a certain kind of personal privacy.

I think if Bérubé were alive to day and had watched this speech he would have pointed out that Foster’s plea for privacy is something that only someone who is simultaneously rich and white, and speaking to a room full of people just like her, would find in the least plausible. By insisting that sexual privacy is normal, and then framing the alternative to privacy as starring in a reality show or developing a new fragrance, Foster showed complete obliviousness to the class and race privilege that structures her entire life. She also  demonstrated how little she understands about ordinary life in a time of economic and political crisis. No one who can’t pay for it has a shred of privacy, in part because of the corporations that fund Jodie Foster’s work and pay her bills and in part because we are living in a state of perpetual war. People of color, queer or not, rich or poor, can’t walk down the street, or into a store, or into their own apartment buildings, or drive down the street in their own cars without knowing that they can be stopped, frisked and arrested on suspicion of being a threat to public safety at any moment.

Where I live, lots of working class queer kids live their lives out in public because they have no homes at all.

I don’t have much to add to TR’s analysis, except that I think she let Foster off easy on her classism, particularly given Foster’s references to reality TV and Honey Boo Boo. Not only does the speech demonstrate an ignorance of the material lives of most Americans, but it makes some implicit claims about taste, class, and privacy that indicate something a bit more active than unexamined obliviousness.