Everyone wants fair treatment. This in and of itself isn’t a problematic notion. The basic definition of feminism is that both women and men should be treated as equals in every way. This concept means that everyone is entitled to both freedom and liberty (within reason). Sounds pretty simple right?
For whatever reason feminism has become associated with women, like men can’t really be feminists, even though men who want equal rights for both sexes are also feminists. Because feminism has become increasingly complicated and political in recent times this has led many people to associate the word feminism with something problematic. Don’t believe me that this is still a heated issue? Ask some people their thoughts on Planned Parenthood, preferential hiring, or the way POTUS Donald Trump talks about women.
Celebrities have the advantage of being able to use their fame as a sort of soap box to promote issues they care about. Many celebrities want to serve as feminist role models to their fan base, while others run away from the ‘F’ word as if it were some sort of infectious plague. Because these people are under the unforgiving microscope of the media it’s not hard to understand why so many have been called on their hypocrisy surrounding feminism. Some don’t even understand it whereas others have been accused of only using it when it suits their own personal agenda. Here are 15 female celebrities who have been called out for their feminist faux pas.
15. Shailene Woodley, Don’t Take Power Away From Men
In an interview with TIME Magazine, Divergent actor Shailene Woodley told the world firmly that she is not a feminist. Clearly the star doesn’t understand what feminism is about since she said, “I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from power’ is never going to work out because you need balance” she then added, “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.” We’re guessing she didn’t vote Clinton last fall. Woodley also believes that sisterhood is more important than feminism, because apparently the two can’t co-exist. This flawed understanding of someone having to be the “top dog” instead of equality and rights is rather sad.
14. Geri Halliwell Spices Up Stereotypes
Geri Halliwell, AKA Ginger Spice, was a 1990s image of girl power who stood up for female friendship and empowerment light. As an important role model for a generation of young women one would think that she’d have some inspiring words about feminism. When asked if she was a feminist in 2007 during an interview with The Guardian she gave an interesting, and disappointing answer. The singer said she is afraid that the concept of feminism is emasculating and demoralizing for men, and she doesn’t like being labelled as one. “It’s about labelling. For me feminism is bra-burning lesbianism. It’s very unglamorous. I’d like to see it rebranded. We need to see a celebration of our femininity and softness.”
13. Taylor Swift & Her “Feminist” Squad
Taylor Swift is probably more famous for her feuds and the hashtag #SquadGoals than she is for her feminism. Just the same the star considers herself a feminist. Ever notice that most people hashtagging #SquadGoals are doing so in a passive aggressive way, only to gain attention and make other women who aren’t in their group feel bad about themselves? Thanks for that Taylor! And who is her “teacher” in terms of everything ‘equal rights’? Hollywood bestie Lena Dunham of course! While she never talks about real issues like wage gaps, she likes to write songs insulting other female celebs. With the number of notable feuds the star and her crew entertain, it’s no wonder people are questioning her ‘tear them down’ approach to supporting her fellow sisters.
12. Thinx Founder Miki Agrawal
When we talk about feminism being related to equality, it’s particularly upsetting to see female entrepreneurs behaving badly, and doing unprofessional things that male CEOs would be put through the ringer for. Thinx Founder, Miki Agrawal, is a self-proclaimed straight shooter who wanted to normalize women’s periods and reject body shaming. She also brought unprofessional behaviour to a whole other level. Her brand of ‘feminism’, if that’s what you want to call it, only benefited her, when it suited her. Former head of PR accused Agrawal of creating an uncomfortable, unprofessional, and toxic work environment. Agrawal allegedly shared naked photos of herself with staff, attended a video conference from bed (in her birthday suit) and FaceTimed into a business meeting from the porcelain throne (her toilet), yuck!
11. Katy Perry, Flip Flop Feminism
Katy Perry is a flip flopping feminist. In 2012 she was awarded the title of Billboard’s Woman of the Year, but she still didn’t want to be labelled as a feminist telling Jon Stewart and his audience, “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women.” Two years later, it appears she evolved, but hasn’t done any comprehensive research on feminism. When asked if she was a feminist the singer said, “A feminist? Um, yeah, actually I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now that I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.” While loving men and women is irrelevant to equal rights at least now she’s embracing the title, even if she’s totally clueless as to what it means.
10. Tina Fey Sl*t Shames
Tina Fey is an inspiration to women everywhere. Even though she continues to tackle important issues women face in life and the work force with aplomb and humour, it doesn’t mean she’s without her flaws. Back in 2010, during a ‘women’s news’ segment on SNL’s Weekend Update she started riffing on Michelle McGee for stealing Sandra Bullock’s then husband Jesse James, calling her a sl*t and blaming her (and only her) for the affair. Fey lashed out calling her a wh*re and was a complete bully saying, ” I know we shouldn’t judge people on their appearance but when your body looks like a dirt bag’s binder from 7th grade metal shop, it doesn’t bode well for your character.” Perhaps she should take her own advice and follow the script from Mean Girls, “You all have got to stop calling each other sl*ts and wh*res. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sl*ts and wh*res.”
9. Ashton Kutcher, Your Bias Is Showing
Ashton Kutcher is a modern man. He’s a dedicated dad who spoke out against the sexist practices of many sporting facilities, only offering baby changing stations in women’s washrooms. You’d think that would mean that he’s an evolved feminist. Apparently some of his views are still in previous decades when it comes to women in the work place. In an open dialogue event hosted by Kutcher and his venture capitalist partner, that was meant to speak to gender equality in technology, Ashton had his bias showing for the world to see! While some good questions were put forward, no one noticed them because the other ones he put out there were sexist and offensive. Questions like: ‘What are the rules for dating in the workplace? Flirting’ and ‘Where does the line between work life and social life start and stop?’ These are clearly burning career issues for women, right?
8. Emma Watson Bares It All
Emma Watson has been a feminist icon since she was a little girl. Her portrayal of smart, plucky ‘muggle’ Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series showed little girls everywhere that you can be as smart and successful as anyone else. As she grew up in front of a wide audience Emma didn’t disappoint; she went on to complete her post-secondary education at Brown University and became a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador advocating for gender equality.
This work was questioned when Watson posed with very little on in a spread for Vanity Fair. When challenged for the photos and her dedication to feminism the actor/activist said, “Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”
7. Lena Dunham Loves Her Body, But Changed It Anyway
Much like an obscure craft beer, Lena Dunham is the type of celebrity that 10 percent of the population loves for her bold, innovative flavour, and unapologetic aroma, whereas the other 90 percent thinks she’s pompous, pretentious, bitter, and completely overrated. While the star has paved the way for less conventional, real bodies in Hollywood, this has also been a major source of controversy for the star.
Rebecca Carrol aptly described Dunham as, “A 20-something white woman who grew up in wealth, likes to get naked and have sex on TV and call it feminism.” While the star stood up and spoke out against the Photoshopping of her image in particular publications to make her leaner and meaner, she’s more recently been under fire for saying she loves her body and then losing a sizeable amount of weight to make her better fit into traditional Hollywood standards.
6. Amy Schumer, Defends Trolls
Amy Schumer is funny, and an unapologetic female comedian. While she has created some very clever content challenging the Hollywood double standard between aging male and female actors, her skit for last effable day featuring Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey, and Julia Louise-Dryfus was brilliant, others have critiqued her stances. Meghan Demaria says, “Schumer only wants to be a part of feminist or body-positive narratives when they suit her.” Last summer when one of her writers from Inside Amy Schumer, who hobbies as an internet troll, defended an accused rapist within the stand-up comedy community, she in turn defended him and downplayed all of his actions, including the way he routinely makes a joke out of rape culture. Schumer went so far as to tell Lena Dunham that she understands why so many people were concerned, but continues to sweep her ex-employee’s actions under the rug.
5. Lady Gaga Thinks Feminists Hate Beer
Man hating is a real stigma associated with feminism, which again, is simply about equality. The “Born This Way” singer belts out song lyrics that inspire feminists everywhere, “Don’t hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you’re set. I’m on the right track, baby. I was born this way, born this way.” But despite this, she previously denied a feminist label. Lady Gaga went on record previously saying, ”I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture – beer, bars, and muscle cars.” Does this mean that feminists can’t enjoy a couple of cold brewskies? A few years later Gaga told the L.A Times that she is in fact a feminist. Hopefully this means she’s begun to take her part as role model a little more seriously.
4. Girl Boss Sophia Amoruso
Just because someone is a successful female doesn’t mean that they are a viable choice for a feminist icon. There were numerous complaints from anyone who watched the Netflix series Girl Boss that Sophia Amoruso was a spoiled brat who lashed out at everyone around her. Critics of the show (and Amoruso’s book) complain that it likens career success with some sort of “ideological authority” and that the entire thing is riddled with feminist light platitudes. These inspirational moments are often over-shadowed by numerous over the top tantrums. In real life Amuroso’s business filed for bankruptcy and there were numerous complaints of a terrible CEO hired to replace Sophia, and people being fired or laid off over taking sick time or getting pregnant. Apparently the American Dream doesn’t involve women having a career and kids, so you need to choose.
3. Ivanka Trump “The Hot” Leader
While praised by her father for her good looks more than her business acumen, Ivanka Trump really wants to be perceived as a feminist, but that doesn’t make it true. The celeb daughter tweeted photos of herself sitting at daddy dearest’s desk in the Oval Office with the caption proclaiming the significance of giving women “a seat at the table”. Everything here is a photo op, and not real. The person with the actual bonafide job position on Trump’s team is Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, while she looks pretty for the cameras. In the business world, Ivanka’s company has had a former employee accuse the business of not offering maternity leave, even though Ivanka has repeatedly spoken of her commitment to supporting working women. Hypocrite much?
2. Sarah Jessica Parker, Feminism & The City
Sarah Jessica Parker became a female inspiration for cosmopolitan guzzling women everywhere in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As a mother to three children, you would think she’d be all about feminism for the next generation. Although in an interview with Marie Claire Magazine it became apparent that while Carrie Bradshaw may understand what feminism is, the actor portraying her does not. The actor talked about how she doesn’t really fit the label of feminist. Parker said, “I am not a feminist… I believe in women and I believe in equality, but I think there is so much that needs to be done that I don’t even want to separate it anymore. I’m so tired of separation. I just want people to be treated equally.” Um, SJP, that’s the definition of feminism.
1. Nicki Minaj Dukes It Out With Swift
Tearing other women down is more of a hobby of junior-high school kids than it is for grown women who consider themselves to be feminists, but apparently Nicki Minaj didn’t get that memo. Following MTV Video Music Awards Nominations reveals, Minaj took to Twitter saying, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” As one of the female nominees Swift took this Tweet as a personal attack saying, “”@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” There was a continued back and forth. Taylor was fairly kind about the entire thing and finally disengaged from the one-sided social media based conversation, but Minaj wouldn’t let it go, un-feminist and awkward!
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