Celebrity Feminists: Connecting the Dots

It’s likely that you’ve heard about one or more (or all) of the following:

  1. Emma Watson’s UN Speech that debuted her collaboration with the “He for She” campaign.
  2. Aziz Ansari’s recent feminist awakening.
  3. Jennifer Lawrence’s response to the recent hack involving the leak of a whole slew of private celebrity nude photos, including her own, which she rightly calls a sex crime.

And, if you’re like me, you had the sneaking suspicion that something about these events was connected in a way that didn’t sit quite right in your feminist tummy.


Roxane Gay, in her lovely piece for the Guardian, manages to put her finger on the source of this uncanny, connecting some of these dots for us:


“There is nothing wrong with celebrities (or men) claiming feminism and talking about feminism. I support anything that broadens the message of gender equality and tempers the stigma of the feminist label. We run into trouble, though, when we celebrate celebrity feminism while avoiding the actual work of feminism.


So long as we continue to stare into the glittery light of the latest celebrity feminist, we avoid looking at the very real inequities that women throughout the world continue to face. We avoid having the difficult conversations about the pay gap and the all-too-often sexist music we listen to and the movies we watch that tell women’s stories horribly (if at all) and the limited reproductive freedom women are allowed to exercise and the pervasive sexual harassment and violence too many women face. We avoid having the conversations about the hard work changing this culture will require.


Feminism is, I hope, a way to a better future for everyone who inhabits this world. Feminism should not be something that needs a seductive marketing campaign. The idea of women moving through the world as freely as men should sell itself.”

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