We Speak is a poster and blog campaign featuring ten young women who are speaking up about their relationships with mental health and how it informs their identities. Part of Launch: Stamps School of Art and Design’s Senior Thesis Exhibition at the University of Michigan, it will be featured at Work Gallery - Ann Arbor in the exhibition opening on Friday, April 18th from 6-9. The show will remain up through May 3rd.
In the past year, the ten young women featured in the poster portion of We Speak came face to face with the state of our mental health. Our stories, carefully and honestly written, are meant to start a conversation about a topic that many of us wish we could ignore. But these are our realities, and in sharing them, we want to start chipping away at the stigma that often keeps us feeling weak and alone.
In addition to the original ten participants, everyone is encouraged to consider sharing their own story about mental health. By contributing your experiences, you can help open the discussion about the importance of mental health and tear down the stigma that keeps it so hidden. By sharing this project, you can foster support.
This is an amazing project. We must be brave to speak with our hearts.
Please talk about mental health with those you love. It is one of the most important things to talk about as a human.
I care about this.
Conceal… Don’t feel…
So wait does this mean that if we took away the whole being able to produce ice thing. This movie might have been about depression?
Disney has come out and said it’s about anxiety and depression so… yeah
the writers literally said that Elsa is a metaphor for depression
Kang the Conqueror relaxing.
Is Janet really focusing on the most important issue?
Those women are doing a public service, Chris.
Ten years after the debut of the life-altering movie that is Mean Girls, actor Daniel Franzese, who played openly gay high schooler Damian, has come out as gay.
Franzese, now 36, wrote a letter to his character that was published in IndieWire. He asks himself why it had taken him so long to come out as gay, saying that his portrayal of Damian actually set him back in Hollywood and in his own personal coming to terms with himself.
The whole thing is damn insightful and meaningful, but here’s a particularly telling excerpt about how Daniel’s career took an unexpected turn after he played Damian:
One time I wanted to audition for a supporting character in a low-budget indie movie described as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy.” The role was to play the husband of an actress friend of mine who I had been in two movies and an Off-Broadway play with. She and I had even moved to L.A. together. I figured I was perfect for it.
They said they were looking for a real “man’s man.” The casting director wouldn’t even let me audition. This wasn’t the last time this happened. There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for “masculine” roles.
However, I did turn down many offers to play flamboyant, feather-boa-slinging stereotypes that always seemed to be laughed at BECAUSE they were gay. How could I go from playing an inspirational, progressive gay youth to the embarrassing, cliched butt-of-a-joke?
So, there it was. Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the ‘Mean Girls’ premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.
Why come out now, then?
It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street - some of them in tears - and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.
Before you make the “too gay to function” joke, which I totally did before I finished reading the article, listen to what he has to say about it:
I hate it when people say I’m ‘too gay to function.’ I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem. They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is only OK when Janis says it.
It takes some serious guts to be this open about the intermingling of your career and your personal life, especially when admitting that playing a beloved character in a classic movie has impacted you in a negative way. I have loads of respect for this man. Congrats, Daniel.