Barbra Streisand: A Revolutionary Force

If you ask anyone who really knows me or honestly just anyone who has a casual conversation with me, they’d probably say that at some point I found a way to bring Barbra Streisand up. Why? You may ask, is a 20-year-old in the 21st century obsessed with Barbra Streisand of all people? Well, it’s because she’s absolutely amazing and I’m gonna tell you why that is. 

Almost everyone has heard of Barbra Streisand in some way or another, but a lot of people don’t know just how much of a revolutionary force Streisand is. 

Not only is she an amazing singer, but she’s also a very talented actress as well as an icon when it comes to women in Hollywood. This isn’t because of her wonderful work in advocacy and just all-around flair for life, she also changed the game when it came to women directing and producing in a more modern Hollywood. I say more “modern” Hollywood because when film was originally brought around, it was actually women who ran the industry. Women like Alice Guy-Blaché, Mary Pickford, and Lois Webber were some of the firsts to make revolutionary movements in the film world. It wasn’t until men began to saturate the film industry and become the gatekeepers of Hollywood that women in film became such an unheard-of concept. However, in the 1980s, with her film "Yentl", Streisand pushed against these hegemonic values.

Yentl is a film about a young Jewish woman who is interested in studying the Talmud (a codification of Jewish law). Unfortunately during the time in which the film is set, it is forbidden for women to learn the Talmud. So, Yentl dresses as a man and moves away to learn it while pretending to be her brother who passed away. The movie is actually really good and I would definitely recommend you watching it if you’re interested in how that plan works out. The reason that this movie was so important especially when it came to women in the film industry is because Streisand starred in, produced and directed this film. Something that really hadn’t been done by a woman before. She was also the first and only woman to win a Golden Globe for best directing. 

Streisand has also starred in many other notable films such as "Hello Dolly", the 1976 version of "A Star Is Born" and the iconic "Funny Girl" for which she won an Oscar in 1968. Aside from her accomplishments in film, she also remains one of the top 50 best-selling music artists of all time. Streisand also does a lot of work in activism for women’s heart health as well as civil and human rights in general. 

All in all Barbra Streisand is an absolutely revolutionary force and because of that, I consider her to be one of my personal heroes. She never let anyone tell her she couldn’t be or do something she wanted and she fought hard to prove them wrong. She’s been labeled as a “diva” and “outspoken,” but if she were a man she would just be assertive and confident. I see her as being vocal about what she believes in and speaking up when she sees there’s an issue. She continues to fight for women and progress in the world and I aspire to do the same. One day I hope to be able to make paths for people the way that she’s done.