It's about time we move past the labels and look at the changes needed to make this a safe and happy space for everyone. Here is a list of famous ladies who haven't shied away from voicing their thoughts about gender equality and how they'd like the true meaning of feminism to NOT be sidelined by definitions that are biased and counter-productive.
Beyoncé chose to convey the true meaning of "feminism" through her single "Flawless." Remember her Mrs. Carter Show tour where she performed on stage with a brightly lit backdrop that read "Feminist" in big, bold letters? In an interview with Elle, she explained:
"I put the definition of feminist in my song and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I'm a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning. I'm not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it's very simple. It's someone who believes in equal rights for men and women," she told Elle. "I don't understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you're a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes."
2. Jane Fonda
Fonda has been a spokesperson for a balanced life whether it be social views, ideas of equality, or a healthy lifestyle. Fonda penned a personal essay for Lenny Letter about her 30-year journey to becoming an "embodied feminist."
In the essay, she revealed how she struggled with an eating disorder trying to live up to society's "perfect" standard for women and often sought validation from men. At age 60, she realized, "I needed to heal the wounds patriarchy had dealt me."
"I worry that the word patriarchy makes people's eyes glaze over with the assumption that it means 'Men are bad, and we need to change to a matriarchy. But this is not about replacing one '-archy' with another, it's about transforming social and cultural norms and institutions so that power, violence, and greed are not the primary operating principles. It's not about moving from patriarchy to matriarchy, but from patriarchy to democracy. Feminism means real democracy."
3. Angelina Jolie
The actress's speech at the 2015 African Union Summit sums up the drive behind her outspoken activism for gender equality.
"There is a global epidemic of violence against women—both within conflict zones and within societies at peace—and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority. We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women—not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men."
"There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman. And there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership."
4. Alicia Keys
This fearless "Superwoman" singer puts across her feminist views verbally when speaks her mind and nonverbally when she deliberately breaks society's expectations for women to always appear perfect by opting to go make-up free on many occasions.
In an interview with Elle UK, she explains why being feminist is the most natural thing.
"Let's look the definition up because I have in my mind what I feel it means. 'The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of political, social, and economic equality'—so yes. Yes, I am a feminist, and whoever isn't is crazy. It's about owning your power, embracing your womanhood."
On her stance to go make-up free, she explained in a Lenny Letter essay, "Women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women."
5. Natalie Portman
In an interview with Elle UK, the actress explained feminism is not what mainstream media portrays it to be.
"I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad—human, basically."
"The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you're making a 'feminist' story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that's macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with."
6. Mila Kunis
Kunis is one of the few women who decided to stop playing "by the rules of the boy's club" by forming her own production company, Orchard Farm Productions, with three other women of the industry.
In a candid essay that was posted to husband Ashton Kutcher's site 'A Plus', she spoke about how she had to face sexism early in her career. She went candid when she spoke about how she was threatened by a Hollywood producer after refusing to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men's magazine to promote a film.
"It's what we are conditioned to believe—that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don't want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a 'bitch'. So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming. Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing."
7. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence nails it when she explains how women across industries need to preplan how they put across their viewpoint because society is waiting with to feel offended and put a label on you for just stating your mind.
In her Lenny Letter, she explained:
"When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn't get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. But if I'm honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn't say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn't want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled.' At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn't worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled.'"
Lawrence added, "I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*** that. I don't think I've ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It's just heard."
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