Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shailene Woodley Doesn't Realize that she is a Feminist and Why We Should be Worried.

Shailene Woodley is an up and coming starlet who is going to be prominently featured in the media because of her roles in the films Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, and she thinks she isn't a feminist. She seems to be under the impression that in order to be a feminist you have to hate men, and want to take something away from men in order to raise up women. Not only has she misunderstood what feminism is, but her attitude is a symptom of a much deeper problem.

This is a young woman with a significant platform. Teen girls are going to watch her movies and are going to want to emulate her, and yet she is telling them that feminism means hating men, and that women are largely responsible for misogyny. It also isn't the first time we have had young starlets talk about feminism without understanding what it means, and sending the wrong message to young girls. But why is this the case? Why is this generation of young women disconnected from feminism, so much so that they don't even know what it means?

Young women today have been brought up under the false pretext that equality has been achieved, and asking for anything more is somehow taking away from men. Today's young women even more than 25 or 30 years ago are subject to harassment and sexualization from an earlier age. Women are still making less than men, and women still struggle in male dominated industries. These are young women who are feminists but do not understand that what they are saying is feminist. 

How many times have you heard "Well I believe in equality but I'm not a feminist" or "I am not feminist because I like men". Well here is the good news, you don't have to hate men to be a feminist. You can love a man and be a feminist. You can love your brother and your father and be feminist. The problem is that feminism isn't "sexy" and women in the media especially fear that saying they are feminist will be a turn off to men. Which undoubtedly it will be to some men. But are those the men you really want?

Young women have been taught to coddle their views for men so that they will be taken seriously, and not brushed off. But the problem is that women are still brushed off when they bring up genuine concerns about things like workplace equity. There is nothing wrong with being a feminist and saying so proudly will not make a man respect you less, because the truth is if it would he probably didn't respect you to begin with.

We should be worried that young women today think that feminism is a bad thing, because we still need it. We still need feminism because there are still huge problems that woman face in everyday life that have not been addressed. We need feminism to evolve to be more inclusive to women of color. We need feminism because the alternative is nothing. The alternative is being satisfied with lower pay and less respect. The alternative is accepting rape culture. The alternative is accepting the increasingly segregated gender norms being pushed on our children for the sake of advertising. The alternative is a loss for all of us.

*  twitter: @poliitcal_toast   Tumblr: political toaster 

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing. Thank you for this. I responded too. http://nerdfighteria.vanillaforums.com/discussion/4742/a-letter-to-john-re-shailene-woodley-s-time-interview?new=1