Shailene Woodley recently announced to Time Magazine that she does not consider herself to be a feminist for a mirade of reasons. When asked by the interviewer, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?” Woodley answered:
“No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.”
There are several things that I personally disagree with in the statement and the foremost is that Woodley’s answers here imply that feminists do not love men and believe that women need to steal power from men. Feminism, at its root, is about equality and not power. After reading this interview a second time I realized that what Woodley seems to disagree with is the caricature of feminism in the media and not feminism itself.
When Kelly Clarkson was asked the same question, she said:
“No, I wouldn’t say feminist — that’s too strong. I think when people hear feminist, it’s like, “Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone.” I love that I’m being taken care of, and I have a man that’s a leader. I’m not a feminist in that sense … but I’ve worked really hard since I was 19, when I first auditioned for Idol.”
Being a feminist doesn’t mean never letting someone take care of you. It means having the right to take care of yourself if you choose too.
“The stereotypes of feminists as ugly, or man-haters, or hairy, or whatever it is – that’s really strategic. That’s a really smart way to keep young women away from feminism, is to kind of put out this idea that all feminists hate men, or all feminists are ugly; and that they really come from a place of fear.” – Jessica Valenti
We need feminism because we live in a world where women still make 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes. I was tempted to say that perhaps this divide does not extend to Hollywood but in 2013 women only made up 16% of directors, editors, writers, executive producers, producers, and cinematographers according to a report by researchers at San Diego State University.
“People have accepted the media’s idea of what feminism is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right or true or real. Feminism is not monolithic. Within feminism, there is an array of opinions.” – Judy Chicago
We need feminism because I live in a state that just passed some of the most restrictive laws concerning reproductive rights for women in the United States. If feminists aren’t standing up to say that women deserve access to mammograms, family planning services, and other essential healthcare services, who will?
“I don’t think feminism, as I understand the definition, implies the rejection of maternal values, nurturing children, caring about the men in your life. That is just nonsense to me.” – Hillary Clinton
This message of anti-feminism is being brought to women, young women especially by celebrities who will not want for money. To them .77 cents to a man’s dollar is still 15 million dollars and then suddenly it’s no longer a pressing issue. Someone with this amount of money will never want for healthcare. So sure, maybe they don’t need feminism, but they have a voice that women who do need feminism don’t have.
“Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” – Rush Limbaugh
So, maybe you don’t need feminism but I do and so do many other women, not just here but around the world. Maybe you should consider speaking up for women that don’t have the things that you have. Maybe you are a feminist and you just aren’t sure what that means.
“Feminism is a word that I identify with. The term has become synonymous with vitriolic man-hating but it needs to come back to a place where both men and women can embrace it. It is particularly important for women in developing countries.” – Annie Lenox