Everyone has a role model. More often than not, those role models are celebrities of some nature: Hollywood stars, professional athletes or musicians. Just because their lives and thoughts are made publicly accessible to us doesn’t mean we should worship, or even believe, everything they say.
In the last few months alone, celebrities like Lana Del Rey, Shailene Woodley, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have publicly distanced themselves from feminist labels. Del Rey claims “intergalactic possibilities’” are more interesting than feminism; Woodley said that the idea of “rais[ing] women to power, tak[ing] the men away from the power” is never going to work. This should cause concern.
The definition of feminism has nothing to do with tearing men down. It simply makes the absurd claim that women and men should be treated equally. Both genders are capable of the same things; equal opportunity, equal pay, and equal judgment should not be things women should still have to fight for in 2014. Feminism is about understanding that the world is operating under a patriarchal system that puts unfair expectations on both males and females. Feminism attempts to draw attention to these issues and proposes potential fixes to the overall problem of gender inequality.
No one benefits when ignorant female Hollywood icons perpetuate more false stereotypes about feminism, especially when you consider the number of malleable pre-teen girls who worship these stars.
Perhaps the media shouldn’t ask celebrities opinions on controversial topics. Or perhaps everyone just needs to become a little more educated on such issues before making blanket statements that may be misconstrued. Women have come a long way in terms of equal representation, but the uphill climb isn’t over yet.
"Shailene Woodley" by Nick Step, used under CC BY 2.0