And Other Concerns’ Is for All of Us


Shondaland Staff/Getty Images

“Let’s have martinis if you’re interested in all the details,” actress Betty Gilpin writes in her essay collection, All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concernswhich hit bookstores on September 6. And reader, are we interested in all the details!

Ever the self-deprecating star of GLOW spirit The Hunt who’s had essays published in Vanity Fair, Glamourduck The New York TimesGilpin counts the laugh that despite all this, “People probably don’t know who I am.” It’s true that until Gilpin’s breakout role on GLOW from 2017 to 2019, she spent the better part of a decade — a time when “the entertainment industry hadn’t been guilty into performed feminism yet” — being cast in things where “getting naked on camera was the necessary toll to pay if I wanted the part,” according to the actress. This resulted in a kind of “career dysmorphia” where Gilpin felt she was “a marinara-stained character actress” with an “alive face” trapped in the body of one of the Barbie dolls on the cover of the book, which, notably, only features their heads (more on that later).

All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns

On one of these shows — Nurse Jackie — she met GLOW creators Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive, who, as writers on Nurse Jackie, saw more in Gilpin and fleshed out her character more in later seasons. That obviously struck a nerve with Gilpin, as she went on to work with them in the aforementioned GLOW and again in this year’s Roar, for Apple TV+. The overarching connection between these three roles — new mom turned wrestler Debbie Eagan on GLOW, sexy and sexual Dr. Carrie Roman on Nurse Jackieand “The Woman Who Was Kept on a Shelf” in the self-explanatory episode of the anthology series Roar — is physicality, something Gilpin has struggled with throughout her life. She writes about disordered eating and negative body image in her youth, which in turn spurred toxic female relationships and “a lifetime of treating women like boxcars to run alongside and hide in.”

It’s perhaps through these working relationships with women that she’s remedied this, talking frequently about her love affair with GLOW spirit Roar collaborator Alison Brie, who launched Gilpin’s book at an event in Los Angeles last week. Gilpin remains somewhat coy about naming names All the Women in My Brainbut it’s easy to connect the dots with one hand on a smart device, Googling all her projects and colleagues like Charlie Day.

And what of that title? What could easily be dismissed as just another entry in the women-and-girls title canon is actually a well thought out motif that appears throughout the book and also Gilpin’s life. She writes about the “brainwomen” who have guided her — the articulate Gilpin’s descriptor for what the rest of us would call “inner voices.” At either end of this spectrum is Barbie — hence the cover — and Salem: One represents everything women are conditioned to be, while Salem unleashes our true selves. “[It’s] easier to stay in the Barbie cell, collect validation points as the cheap way to stay alive and needed, and let the Salem stuff be a secret,” Gilpin writes. (I can’t help but wonder what Gilpin might have done in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.)

new york, new york april 18 betty gilpin attends the gaslit world premiere on april 18, 2022 in new york city photo by jamie mccarthygetty images for starz

Betty Gilpin attends the Gas lit world premiere on April 18, 2022 in New York City.

Jamie McCarthyGetty Images

Gilpin seems to be exorcising some of these demons and letting her inner Salem run free in her roles post-2020 (a hellish year for everyone, but professionally disappointing for Gilpin in that GLOW was canceled and The Hunt tanked at the box office, released two days before the world shut down, after Donald Trump’s tweets about the movie derailed its initial release the year prior. But it wasn’t all bad: Gilpin had a baby, Mary Babe, in late 2020). Notably, the roles are all in TV, where Gilpin really cut her teeth and where the more dynamic and varied roles for women can be found. Next up, we’ll see her in the adaptation of Lisa Taddeo’s Three Womenalong with the secretive Damon Lindelof (co-writer of The Hunt) project Mrs. Davis, coming to Peacock, in which Gilpin plays a nun. “It feels like 6,000 genres mashed up in one,” she said counts Vanity Fair.

And while she was seen in a bit part in the supposedly feminist retelling of Gas lit starring Julia Roberts earlier this year, Gilpin counts Vanity Fair that “So often, women are the B story. There are things that happen in our lives — things involved with pregnancy, childbirth, or miscarriage — that you can’t believe are the B story to the male work plot.”

“Now there is freedom. Which means you get to choose when. Spirit who. Spirit why. You get to choose the exact life you want,” Gilpin writes elsewhere in the book in what is a painfully pre-Dobbs sentence. All the Women in My Brain is a study in one woman’s journey to feminism. “It’s easy to be a blanket feminist but turn away from the actualizers on your front lawn,” Gilpin writes in a later chapter. With the nonstop news cycle revealing at every turn just how much our choices are regressing from the “Xanax-ed snail’s pace” of progress, All the Women in My Brain is in turn a feminist manifesto for all of us, leaning on the age-old lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover.


Scarlett Harris is a culture critic and author of A Diva Was a Female Version of a Wrestler: An Abbreviated Herstory of World Wrestling Entertainment. You can read her previously published work on her website, the Scarlett Womanand follow her on Twitter @ScarlettEHarris.

Get Shondaland directly in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TODAY

.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: