GQ Germany held its Men of the Year 2019 awards in Berlin Thursday night, but it was the star who was named Woman of the Year who stole the show.
“Some years ago, before we were allowed to be who we were in our little towns, I was sitting on a soundstage and my director said, ‘Can you hand me your underpants? Because we’re seeing them in the scene and you shouldn’t have underpants on. But we won’t see anything,’” Stone recalled. “And I said, ‘Sure.’”
She was, of course, describing her then-controversial and now-iconic scene from the 1992 erotic thriller “Basic Instinct.”
“I didn’t know that this moment would change my life,” the 61-year-old told the crowd. “So, what I’d like you all to do is put your feet flat on the floor like mine, all of you, and I want you to join me in a moment that changed my life. Ready, set, go.”
She crossed her legs, as the audience did the same.
“Do you feel empowered?” Stone asked. “Maybe not. Let’s do it again.”
But repeating the routine wasn’t really meant to be empowering. It was meant to illustrate a point about women, sexuality, shaming and actual power, issues that reach far beyond the entertainment industry in the age of #MeToo.
“Each and every one of you is going to have a moment like mine — a moment that changes your life,” she said 27 years after her big-screen moment. “One you might be aware of when it's happening and one you might not.
“But I'll tell you this: You're going to have one if you haven't had it already. And you’re going to be held accountable for it, if you haven’t already. And people are going to ask you a lot of difficult questions, if they haven’t already. So the time to decide who you are is now. The time to decide what you do with the tender, important, beautiful, savage, passionate, most important part of yourself. What are you going to do with it? I’ll tell you what I did with mine.”
After crossing her legs again, Stone said, “I respected it.”
“And I would suggest that you all do the same,” she added. “Because we have every right to be powerful in whatever form of sexuality we choose to have. And no one is allowed to take that away from you.”
The audience, many members of which had giggled and shifted awkwardly when first asked to cross their own legs, sat rapt as Stone continued.
“I stand here as Woman of the Year, not as an individual, but to be with women and of women, and to be here in my grace and in my tenderness and in my dignity, and I want to tell you it was hard-won after I only did that," she said, crossing her legs once more.
Then, in closing, she added, “So I want to say thank you for choosing me to be Woman of the Year, because there was a time when all I was was a joke.”
As she stood up again, the crowd joined her, celebrating the message shared.