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Why Maria Bello Said She Was Done With Activism (but Really Isn't)

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health & Sex Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist, adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University and has written for publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling...

How Maria Bello is using filmmaking as activism

Changing the world sounds like a daunting task. That’s why Yasmeen Hassan, the global executive director of Equality Now and actor, activist and filmmaker Maria Bello suggest starting at home.

“Huge changes have happened and they’ve happened because women have gotten together and activated in ways big and small,” Hassan told an audience of approximately 2,500 women at #BlogHer17. “There’s no way that’s too small or insignificant that can't make a difference in this world.”

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Prior to their conversation, the audience watched a trailer of Bello’s latest project: a virtual-reality movie she produced called Sun Ladies, the story of the all-female militia fighting ISIS. She also discussed her upcoming action film starring Viola Davis and other women of color.

When Bello had previously told Hassan that she was getting out of activism, Hassan reminded her that creating meaningful films was her form of activism.

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“Share your story,” Hassan told her. “Share stories of women that you meet who inspire you and that’s how we will change the world.”

Their other strategy is being mindful of how they raise their children, which for Hassan, is two boys.

“There’s a lot of talk about raising daughters to be strong women, and that’s great, but you also need woke boys and men,” Hassan explained. “I think it’s such an honor and a privilege to have these two young men who will grow up to be different. To me, that’s one of the biggest forms of activism.”

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Bello agreed, saying that being a role model — whether or not you have kids of your own — has a positive impact on the next generation.

“When women come together, powerful things happen,” Hassan noted. “When women’s stories are told around the world, change happens.”

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