I tend to think actress Helen Mirren is about 17 different shades of fantastic in everything she says and does. But the advice Mirren recently said she'd give girls these days tops almost everything as far as I'm concerned. She doesn't have kids, but if she had a daughter, she would teach her to say, "F*ck off." Now before you freak out and get all "WTF Adriana, really!?!" on me, wait and see why she thinks this is an important phrase for every young woman to have in her working vocabulary.
In an interview, Mirren was talking about how young women are treated in the entertainment industry. It's pretty awful, from her experience -- rife with child predators. But of course, entertainment isn't the only environment that's toxic to young women. Anyway, here's what she says.
If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been ‘f*ck off’ because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we?
And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, ‘No, f*ck off, leave me alone, thank you very much.’
You see, I couldn’t help saying ‘Thank you very much,’ I just couldn’t help myself.
I had a very strict upbringing, so I was definitely not raised to say, "F*ck off," ever. I was raised to say, "Thank you" and "What can I do to help" -- which are not bad things in themselves, unless no one ever teaches you when not to say them. (I am still figuring that out, all this time later.) I was probably taught to say, "No thank you." But when someone is way, way out of line, "no thank you" just doesn't quite have the same force as "f*ck off." I mean, if you were a predator, which one would most likely deter you?
Of course, there are other ways to get the same idea across. I guess you don't have to use that word. But in this context it's certainly effective, don't you think? It says so much. "I am dead serious about this" and "you have definitely crossed a line and made me angry" and especially "I am not afraid to hurt your feelings or piss you off, you asshole." These are all ideas women will have to get across, strongly, from time to time in our lives. Why not just teach your daughter the most direct approach?
I'm no longer a young woman, but I still think it's a useful phrase. Perhaps I'll cross-stitch it upon a pillow as a reminder.
Is this a phrase you've taught your daughter to say -- under the right circumstances?
Image via HelenMirrenNews/Flickr