On the red carpet at the MET Gala on Monday, Shailene Woodley told reporters that she wasn’t a feminist because she loves men and she thinks that “the idea of ‘raise women to power, take men away from power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.”
So that’s problematic. The star of the Divergent series featuring a pretty badass female lead, thinks feminism means that you hate men.
Sadly I don’t think that Shailene is the only young woman to feel this way. Somewhere along the way feminism became a dirty word, something young women wanted to distance themselves from lest they be viewed as hairy, bra burning man haters. Kind of career and love limiting you know?
It’s OK though; there’s a super simple solution to this problem. Shailene, you just need to read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.
Caitlin Moran is a British columnist who decided to write about what it’s like to be a modern woman. It is a hilarious book, often compared to Tiny Fey’s Bossypants. She manages to cover puberty, breasts, fashion, why you should have children, why you shouldn’t have children, strippers and weddings. Maybe not in that order.
She also manages to boil down the whole feminism thing to one very simple thing: do you want equality between the genders? If you answer “YES!” (and why the hell wouldn’t you?), congratulations, you’re a feminist!
This book is possibly a little full of the c-word for some people. It doesn’t bother me but I thought maybe I should give you fair warning in case you dislike books with a lot of swearing. I thought she was pretty creative with her vocabulary – I learned a lot of new words. Different strokes for different folks though right?
I think Moran managed to strike the right tone between the completely ridiculous and the totally serious. She discusses the way we tear down our female pop stars for entering rehab but don’t even blink when it’s a man, because he’s doing the right thing and getting help. She freely admits that it’s all very complicated and you may not be sure if what you’re experiencing is sexism or just bad manners but that there’s an easy way to check: ask yourself would this happen to a man?
I found myself getting pretty into this book, exclaiming “exactly!” or things along that vein multiple times. There’s a point in the book when she says that boys too should be getting up on chairs and yelling “FEMINISM!” because until they get on board nothing is going to change.
Whereby I turned to my fiancé and asked him if he was a feminist?
He replied with “obviously.”
Let’s all read this book and remind ourselves how feminism works. Someone get it to Shailene Woodley because I want to still be able to like her.