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Sally Hawkins explains why labeling women as 'emotional' for being passionate about work is wrong

She highlighted that this label is often used to undermine women's credibility and hinder their progress in professional spaces.

Sally Hawkins explains why labeling women as 'emotional' for being passionate about work is wrong
Cover Image Source: Sally Hawkins attends the UK premiere of "The Lost King" at Ham Yard Hotel on September 26, 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Women cannot avoid preconceived notions in this world. Garbed as criticism, these notions are oftentimes used to pull women down, something both Sally Hawkins and writer Philippa Langley seem to have experienced in their lives. The preconceived notion Hawkins is raising her voice against is women being considered more 'emotional.' In her interview with the Guardian during the promotion of her film "The Lost King", she shared her frustrations about women being set aside because of being passionate about their project. In her opinion, the intellect and hard work of the gender are subdued with the simple word 'emotional' without any concrete proof.

Image Source: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Sally Hawkins attends the
Image Source: Sally Hawkins attends the "Mammals" World Premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at the Curzon Soho on October 07, 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

The 'emotional' label has been thrown at women at every stage of the world. Hillary Clinton to Oprah Winfrey, no woman has been safe from this assertion. As per a study, these labels are not thrown at women with any legitimate argument. They are said with the intention of undermining credibility. It is used to prevent women from gaining an upper hand in the argument or furthering themselves in a professional space. This was done to Langley time and again when she presented her case regarding King Richard III's remains.



 

Hawkins, who plays Langley's character in "The Lost King," detailing events leading to the exhumation, found the research process incredibly frustrating. The roadblocks the character had to go through were unbelievable for the actress and that too because she was passionate about the project. She shared how the story sometimes made her think, “Are we still in the 1950s?” 

Hawkins further explained, “If you’re a woman and you have a passion project and you’re determined like Philippa was, it’s still very easy for you to be dismissed as ‘emotional.’"



 

It seems that society has categorized things that women can be passionate about, which are mostly related to family matters. Rose Hackman revealed how women are overburdened by domestic responsibility by citing that they are just "better at it." The moment they venture out and show intensity towards anything else, they are dismissed. Lab Change shared how women still drop out of science careers because of feeling isolated and lack of “belongingness.” This happens despite women earning more bachelor's, master’s and doctorate degrees in science than men. It implies that societal constructs more than intellect are responsible for women being dismissed. Labels like 'emotional' are just excuses to complete the pursuit.

Image Source: LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Sally Hawkins and Philippa Langley attend the UK premiere of
Image Source: Sally Hawkins and Philippa Langley attend the UK premiere of "The Lost King" at Ham Yard Hotel on September 26, 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Talking about Langley's struggle to convince people that a park indeed carried King Richard III's body she said, “[It] frustrates the f*** out of me. She was smart, she was driven, she was right! And there was still a battle? How much do you have to prove?”



 

Langley, who was an amateur historian in 2013, shared how research for a screenplay generated her interest in the king's life. The historian's research eventually led her to his grave, which was previously unidentified. “I wasn’t interested in Richard’s death, I was interested in his life, but finally I thought I should go to Leicester – and the first time I stood in that car park, the strangest feeling just washed over me,” she told the Guardian, “I thought, ‘I am standing on Richard’s grave.’” The movie was released on 10 September 2022 and Hawkins' performance earned massive praise. Charlotte O'Sullivan called the performance 'Oscar-worthy' and Francesca Steele gave the movie four out of five stars.

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