8 Loud and Proud Hollywood Feminists

Posted on August 21, 2015 in Culture-Vulture, Lists, Society, Staff Picks, Stories by YKA, Taboos, Women Empowerment

By Akhila Nagar for Cake

The “F-word” has been used with extreme care in Hollywood. After all, it was easier claiming you stood for “all of humanity” than a ‘singular’ section of it. The F-word, now, is all the rage, with recent actors declaring one after the other their identification with the much dreaded word – feminism. One might say that situations haven’t changed much – female actors at the Oscars are shown in full body camera sweeps as sexual objects, and the questions usually asked to them during interviews have little do with their acting process and more with their weight loss projects. This, however, does not mean things are not changing.

hollywood feminists

1. Emma Watson

No longer is Emma Watson about magic spells, even though she certainly proved to the world the power of the female mind that patriarchy kept hidden for all these years – all through the world of Harry Potter. As UN’s Global’s Women Goodwill Ambassador, she launched the #HeForShe campaign in 2014, dispelling what she believes are the real intentions of feminism, and not the superficial ones that a scared society attaches to them. She believes feminism to be “equality politically, culturally, socially, economically“.

2. Terry Crews

Not all feminists would go to the extent of writing a book about it, but he did. ‘Manhood‘ received major thumbs up from the community, and his outspoken views on feminism clearly indication on women rights’ issues. Apart from talking about how men and women should be equal, he goes a step further to discuss an all pervasive concept – the idea of male pride. As he says, “if you feel you are more valuable than your wife or kids, that’s a problem“. He talks about the insidiousness of masculine dominance, and even uses 50 Shades of Grey as an example of how abuse is covered in romance. Now here’s one of the few guys who are not afraid of feminism!

3. Amy Poehler

Amy’s real issue is the contention behind the undesirability of the term “feminist” in modern media, and how, even women are shirking from the responsibility that comes along with such a word. She uses the analogy of the use of a car –

I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it… and then go on to denounce feminism.

She tries to develop positive female relationships and this is clearly seen in her real life relationship with Tina Fey, and her friendships on her show Parks and Recreation.

4. Ellen Page

Ellen Page is yet another actor highlighting the same problem – why are women so reluctant to call themselves feminists? Her moment, however, came during an Human Rights Campaign in Las Vegas where she came out as a lesbian. As she quotes, “she [was] tired of lying by omission“. It is interesting to note how coming out is still considered a “big deal“, just showing the levels to which patriarchy and the current social order is so removed from the idea of queer culture becoming a part of mainstream culture.

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Say Hi to JGL. Citing that he has been fundamentally influenced by his mother on the ideas of women’s rights, JGL uses the example of motherhood – as a feminist, a woman can be a mother if she wants to, and she can refuse to if she wants to – and that her maternal power does not define her as a woman. Moreover, he understands that feminism is not an outdated issue, and women’s .deprecation, including their objectification if present all around. He asks his readers to weigh in their views on the subject.

6. Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones acted and produced the documentary Hot Girls Wanted, criticizing the porn industry for the expectations it builds up in both men and women. She talks about how porn is geared towards the male gaze, which makes a woman powerless and completely denies her any kind of sexual pleasure. She called today’s sex “objectified, sexualized, performative“. Rashida Jones brings up some key issues in the depiction of women in popular culture and the gender roles that have been assigned to them by patriarchal society. In fact, these women even economically lose their stability in society if they do not confine to such gender roles.

7. Mark Ruffalo

Apart from the fact that he believed that women directors should make at least half of the films in the entertainment industry, an observation that feminism was in fact “cool”, and open support for Emma Watson’s #HeForShe incentive, Ruffalo clearly describes his views on his tumblr page. Reminder: This page is not meant for what Ruffalo would call “arrogant little jerks“.

8. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is an unlikely candidate for such an article, and a complex one at that, because her songs clearly don’t indicate any kind of feminist ideas. But what Taylor Swift truly believes in is liberation. Inspired to work hard regardless of being a boy or a girl as a child inculcated values in her that made her disregard the real-life implications of what it means to be a women. However, Emma Watson’s recent speech at the #HeForShe campaign certainly changed her mind.

It is interesting to note that all the pages that are cited above come from some kind of Hollywood reporting website, which clearly shows the leaps and bounds to which the industry has grown in its acceptance of feminist movements. While many female actors are on their way to accepting the tag of ‘feminist’, it seems like the men too are geared toward that role. That, while being a long step, is one that needs to be taken, if feminism, radical or liberal is to come into being.

If you like this article and would like to read more on issues concerning gender, sex and sexuality, head to Cake.

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