January 13, 2020 at 10:25PM
While accepting an award on Sunday night at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards, Kristen Bell reminded us women don’t have to be only strong, brave, and powerful: “Being a woman is not about being [those things],” she said. “It’s just about giving yourself permission to be the things that you already are.”
In her speech, Bell stressed the nuance of being a woman in the world today and said she’s been lucky to play roles that convey those complexities.
“Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars), who was sassy and strong but also soft and sad. Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place), who’s tough and independent but…also capable of love and community, and Princess Anna (Frozen), who’s most likely the most un-princessy princess that has ever been animated.” She also mentioned Sarah Marshall (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), who she used some choice, yet loving, words to describe.
The actress and humanitarian was accepting the #SeeHer award, which recognizes women who push boundaries, change stereotypes, and portray authentic women in entertainment. The actress doesn’t just play boundary-breaking women on TV, though. She is also open about her real-life struggles.
In 2016, Bell spoke out about her experiences with anxiety and depression, proving everyone (even Disney princesses) can battle mental health issues.
“I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself,” she wrote in a Time article. “Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame.”
Women are usually conditioned to fit into “sparkly” boxes, Bell said. But “the idea of womanhood is someone who sheds [that] box and owns their complexity.”
Her speech was a reminder for women (and men, for that matter) to embrace every piece of themselves: “The brave parts and the cowardly parts,” she said. “Even the parts that cry at sloths.”