I didn’t think I would want to comment on this sort of thinking, but I’m going to, just once.
There are those criticizing Tom as “playing poor.” They say the only way he would know how others feel is if he had lived that way his whole life, or if he straight up gave up all of his material possessions including heating/AC, nice clothes, and the roof over his head. Even then, they seem to think that there is no way someone who isn’t in the position of the poor could understand. This thinking is flawed in so, so many ways. If that were true, no one could ever empathize with another person who isn’t from the exact same background, socially or otherwise, which is so clearly not the case that I don’t even feel the need to explicate it.
As someone who has been fed on foodstamps, close to homeless numerous times and has many friends who have been both homeless and hungry, I personally doubt most severely underprivileged people really care how they get help. All they see is the aid. Does it really matter to them how it came? Who provided it or why? No. Someone actually in need would never say “some privileged celebrity helped feed me”; they would say “someone helped feed me and thanks to them I can live a little better than I would otherwise.”
True, it’s possible they could be bitter on some level that someone might have more than them, especially someone who is famous. They could very well think, on dark days, “if you care so much why don’t you give up your designer clothes” or something. Okay.
However. Tom Hiddleston is an actor. He acts for a living. It is how he earns money. An actor without the proper wardrobe to attend special events and the like, one who can’t dress for respective occasions or has a reputation for being unpleasant, is not very well-received in the acting world as a whole. How many times have you seen someone reamed for their clothing choices, and often just ignored? It’s up to Tom (and his stylists, and Luke, and whoever else) to present well, to basically wrap up in a nice bow with a tag that says “Hey! I’m a pretty swell guy, and I sure do clean up nicely! Don’t you want me in your next movie?” If he doesn’t have the look and the overall demeanor, he may not get the job. That’s just a fact. You wouldn’t berate a wealthy computer software programmer for having a really amazingly powerful machine at home. That’s expected for his career. In the same way, you shouldn’t hold Tom to the same standards as people without elevated status. (Especially since his home and personal wardrobe both seem relatively modest, and he seems to take public transportation regularly. This is not someone with a luxurious 20-room mansion, ten cars, and servants, people!)
People seem to want him to feel bad for doing well in life yet still caring. This is such non-logic that I really, truly wonder if these same people would tell that to Bill Gates, who gives significant amounts of his income to charity but is known for his technological advances instead of his acting talent/looks/whatever it is that’s making people feel such disdain for Tom. It’s like saying to them, “you don’t count because you’re famous.” What ludicrous nonsense.
EVERY PERSON COUNTS. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THEIR STANDING IN LIFE MAY BE, IT MATTERS WHAT THEY DO.
Thanks to Tom, people who might never even be aware of Unicef and the situations in Guinea or otherwise are actually taking action to make the world better. Hiddlestoners Have Heart alone has raised £31165 for charity. Isn’t that in itself an amazing thing?! Children will be fed! Teenaged Hiddlestoners are actually trying to understand their world a little better instead of taking everything for granted! That’s what this whole thing is about—appreciating what you have, and realizing other people don’t have that. Any step towards understanding, and ultimately bettering, the state of your fellow humankind is a good one, however minuscule.
And you know what? Guess what, everyone? Tom is not perfect. He is not some saint sent from a benevolent higher deity to meet the increasingly-higher standards set by his fans (or nosy faux social justice naysayers). He has his own belief system that may or may not clash with your own. Gasp! Personally, I don’t actually entirely agree with Unicef as an organization. In the past, they’ve pushed for certain things I found, in a word, stupid.
But I also can’t deny that they do good work when it comes to fending off hunger and raising awareness for areas that require aid. I can’t deny that they make a difference in a world where more people are concerned about buying the newest model of iPhone than caring about each other. I am no exception. I could give more to charity, but man I sure would like to keep my internet connection. But then, here’s someone who wants to use his celebrity to stand for what he believes in, who is willing (AND ABLE, YES, OKAY) to “play poor” and share his experience in order to bring light to a dark subject, to better connect with those he wants to help, and he’s being raked across the coals. How is this sensible?
Can we please remember who this is we’re talking about? Is there any previous evidence to support the idea that he’s doing it “just for attention” or that he honestly thinks this is the EXACT SAME as being poor? There is, in fact, only evidence to the contrary, and I wish people would stop underestimating his intelligence, humility and general kindness. He’s doing whatever he feels is right. He reserves the right to make his own decisions, and to stand up for what causes he thinks are worthwhile.
Okay. I’m done. I hope this made sense. Sorry for the wall of text, but the kind of faux social justice type commentary people are tossing out just gets under my skin so much, and it’s been a long day.