Critics' Choice Awards: #SeeHer Winner Kristen Bell on What It Means "to Be a Woman Today"

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association
Kristen Bell

The honor is bestowed by a collective of the same name, which, with the help of the Association of National Advertisers, advocates for authentic portrayals of women and girls in media.

Kristen Bell received the #SeeHer Award — which recognizes women who "push boundaries on changing stereotypes and acknowledge the importance of authentic portrayals of women across the entertainment landscape" — at the 2020 Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday night and used her time onstage to contemplate a question she's often asked: "What does it mean to be a woman today?"

"My immediate reaction is always to answer with words like 'strong' and 'brave' and 'powerful,' but if I'm being honest, to me, being a woman is not about being brave or being strong or being powerful. It's not about being anything specific," the actress explained. "It's just about giving yourself permission to be the things that you already are — which seems very easy, but it is not. Because women have been conditioned to fit into boxes — usually tiny, pretty, sparkly boxes with bows on them, generally."

She continued, "So to me, the idea of womanhood is someone who sheds the perfect little box and owns their complexity."

Bell cited some of the characters she's played as examples, such as Veronica Mars from the show of the same name, and Frozen's Princess Anna, whom she described as "most likely the most un-princessy princess that's ever been animated."

"What I've learned from all that is that nobody is just one thing," the actress concluded. "We are all all the things."

Bell's Good Place co-star Ted Danson presented her with the honor, highlighting her work as both a humanitarian and actress.

"Kristen Bell embodies characters who have a strong moral core, compassion, independence, support for the underdog and a fearless optimism," he said.

The award is bestowed by the SeeHer movement, which, with the help of the Association of National Advertisers, advocates for authentic portrayals of women and girls in media. Previous recipients include Viola Davis, Gal Gadot and Claire Foy.

Taye Diggs served as host of the Critics' Choice Awards for the second year in a row, which aired on The CW from Santa Monica's Barker Hangar.