When news broke earlier this month that U2 frontman Bono would be the first man honored at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, Twitter had a field day. There were jokes about girls learning "they can grow up to be Bono" and that, in Bono's defense, his transition lenses "make him look like a 75 yr old lady from Miami." This reporter even likened the news to a particularly funny Parks & Rec episode that had Nick Offerman's character Ron Swanson winning a Woman of the Year Award as a publicity stunt, when the honor should have gone to Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler.
But when Bono did accept the honor, called "Man of the Year," at the Glamour ceremony Monday in Hollywood, his award didn't make a mockery of the event. In fact, it was Poehler, herself, who earnestly presented Bono's trophy.
Of course, she did have jokes.
"What an exciting time for men. Can you feel it? Finally! There's something in the air tonight," she said. "I think it's gonna be hard to give another one of these awards next year, because, frankly, there is no one better deserving than Bono. And also we are gonna spend the next four years watching white men congratulate themselves."
And then she got real.
"People like Bono give me faith in men. (Bono has) dedicated his life to being a light for so many who are scared and alone," said Poehler.
When Bono, who was recognized for his support of causes including Poverty Is Sexist, took the stage, he said he understood the irony of his presence alongside honorees including gymnast Simone Biles, activist Nadia Murad and entertainer Zendaya. "I know how ridiculous it is for me to be on this stage, accepting this award," he said. "But if I didn't know how ridiculous it was, I did have the blessed Internet to remind me."
He explained why he was pleased to receive the honor, ridiculous or not.
"I'll tell you the real reason that I'm here. It's one of the tiny, few awards that caused excitement in our house and stopped the usual dinner conversation and started... a conversation that unless we address this problem, both women and men together, our world will continue down this misogynistic, violent and impoverished path," he said.
Then, Bono got serious. "2016 might be the year I stop believing north stars are always visible, even through a layer of fog. This year, the north star looked like a neon sign, fizzing and crackling, 'hate for hire,' 'girls for rent,' 'women need not apply,'" he said. "I say to the president-elect, look across to women. Make equality a priority. It is the only way forward. The train is leaving the station, be on it or be under it."
The musician earned a standing ovation.