Elizabeth Taylor: The Complete Divinity, Part Three

In Conversation
By Phone and at The Carlyle

You're only lucky up to a point--then you've got to ride the vehicle that's been put in your possession or you just sit at home and gloat at your luck.

I'm not a gloater.

I was always aware that I was poor, but in the world of Mary Baker Eddy, of Christian Science--and in my mother's perception of Christian Science--I had everything I needed if I acknowledged it; if I reached out to the glorious, generous world and took it; if I took care of it once I had it; if I shared it once I had had my share.

Later, when I converted to Judaism, I kept a lot of the beliefs of Christian Science--I'm a Judeo-Christian Scientist!--but I added the rich and vast history of the Jewish people. It opened my mind and my heart, and it reinforced the idea I had always known and cherished, which is that we are here to help and to husband others.

No jokes about husbanding people, please! 

Everyone is gifted, and everyone has particular powers. To be the recipient is the easy, overlooked part: The hard part is using the powers and the gifts, getting out into the field and asserting your power.

People were always telling me that I could do things they couldn't, because of my looks or the films I was in or the position I had with L.B. Mayer or George Stevens or whomever. I didn't argue--I just took control and asked the questions and made the demands.

No demand is too great if everyone benefits. I never fought for a trailer or a raise or billing. I kid you not. Do the research. I did fight for better roles and better conditions and better treatment on the sets.

Am I a feminist? Who isn't? Maybe a troglodyte.  There are feminists and there feminists in denial. I think men--and some women--are afraid to acknowledge the power of women because they are threatened, and nothing is scarier than a woman who is afraid to realize all that she can do and be. Men just want to be in power, but the greatest gem in the crown of a powerful man is a woman. They can't get away from us! Better to embrace the great roles we both play in the world.

So much of the trouble in the world comes from wanting something, seeking something, barely missing something. We look in all the wrong places. I've looked in all the wrong places. Everything we need is ours already. It's right over there. Go get it. But then the work begins--the hard battles. And most poor fools are too afraid to walk over there and get started.

We're a world of frozen people.

I highly recommend M.G. Lord's book The Accidental Feminist, published by Walker, in its examination of Taylor's film roles,  and her role in our lives.



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