By Krista M. Torralva Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Actress Kathy Najimy makes some great points about the false narratives many women are fed regarding what is going to make them happy. Najimy is doing her best to dispel myths about beauty and perfection, even at home, with her very own 19 year old daughter. Texas
Kathy Najimy's favorite children's story is Sleeping Beauty.
"She's just sleeping and some stranger just rides up and without asking her, he just kisses her without her permission," Najimy said Wednesday as the guest speaker at the Women's Shelter of South Texas 5th Annual Great Expectations Speaker Series Luncheon. "And this strange man that she's never met before steals her away and she ends up marrying him with no background check."
Najimy's sarcasm drew laughs from the nearly 600 people attending the annual luncheon at the American Bank Center. Though the actress' aim was humor, she also was making a point: Society teaches girls what their roles are.
"You weren't born caring about your weight or your looks. It's not organic. It's learned," Najimy said to the Caller-Times after her speech.
Najimy said she's taught her 19-year-old daughter to realize society tries to tell women what they're worth and to combat it with self awareness.
"If you can identify what's coming at you and go, 'Oh they want me to feel like this,' it doesn't mean you won't feel like this -- you probably will -- but as long as you identify it, you have a really great chance to experience some go around and create your own life," Najimy said.
Najimy, also a women's rights activist, spoke about gender wage gaps and how economic factors can play a role in a domestic violence victim's decision to stay with her partner. She offered answers for the common question, "Why doesn't she just leave?"
"Well let me take me just take my low income job, my three kids and my dried up wedding bouquet and split," Najimy said sarcastically.
The Women's Shelter of South Texas served more than 2,800 clients from 12 counties in 2015, about an 8 percent increase from the year before. More than 800 of those lived in the shelter for some time.
One of those clients shared her story of escaping an abusive 4-year-long marriage in another state and seeking refuge at the local shelter. The woman, whose full name was not revealed, called the shelter before fleeing and was comforted by what they told her: We will have space for you.
"I am your legacy," the woman said to the room of donors. "Thank you, thank you, thank you so much."
She smiled and hundreds of people stood in applause.
Before closing her remarks, Najimy asked the audience of mostly women to raise their glasses for a toast.
"To all of the men in this room and all of the men in our lives who vocally oppose assault and abuse, who confidently speak up and support women and who stand as examples and raise their children to be kind, caring and gentle," she said.