This list is heartbreaking. I sat with it and let it sting me. I suppose I'm too sensitive to let it slide off my back. BUST magazine, posted a link from Buzz Shift, entitled, 6 Famous Women Who Say They're Not Feminists.
The list is as follows:
1) Melissa Leo (actress)
2) Lady Gaga (...lady gaga)
3) Gwenyth Paltrow (actress)
4) Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo)
5) Bjork (music artist)
6) Demi Moore (actress)
Two, three, five and six are the ones that gave me a punch to the gut.
Lady Gaga on Feminism
A male interviewer asks Gaga if she thought the element of sex in her appearance and performance might distract fans from her music. She says no and points out that their is a double standard when it comes to sexuality and gender. When asked if she was a feminist, she said she wasn't. "I'm not a feminist — I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture and beer and bars and muscle cars."
Lady Gaga doesn't understand feminism. It hurts and frustrates me when anyone doesn't advocate feminism but it hurts more when a person whom I admire, ignores the importance of it.
One of the reasons I am a feminist is because I too love men. I want men to be able to explore true authenticity without the saturating effect of patriarchy. I want this for our young boys who are growing up with social influences (as are our young girls).
Lady Gaga also misunderstands male culture. Beer, bars and muscle cars are not reserved for men only. If these things make up male culture, are women allowed to step into that world? Gaga suggests that women are separate from it.
Image by MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters
In February of 2012, Gwenyth Paltrow had this to say during a Harper's Bazaar interview.
“I have little kids in school. I want to maintain my marriage and my family, so I have to be here when he comes home. … [I gave advice to a girl friend who] is an actress and in a new relationship with someone else with a big career, and I said this may not be feminist, but you have to compromise. It’s been all about you and you’re a big deal. And if you want what you’re saying you want — a family — you have to be a wife, and that is part of the equation. Gloria Steinem may string me up by my toes, but all I can do is my best, and I can do only what works for me and my family.”
Paltrow is essentially saying that all stay at home mothers, are not feminist. I can only hope that Steinem will hear about this and make contact. She has a skewed concept about feminism. I think stay at home moms (and dads) are rock stars. Sometimes juggling work and mommyhood doesn't work and sometimes it does. A woman should not feel that they have to force themselves to work when they know their family life will undergo much strain. Feminism gives us the freedom to choose.
In 2005, BUST magazine asked Bjork if she considered herself to be a feminist.
Bust: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Bjork: Umm.. no.
Bust: Why not?
Bjork: Because I think it would isolate me. I think it’s important to do positive stuff. It’s more important to be asking than complaining.
Bust: So you feel the term “feminism” is equated with complaining?
Bjork: A lot, yes. You could probably call my mother a feminist, and I watched her isolate herself all her life from men, and therefore from society.
Bust: You believe she isolated herself from men because of feminism?
Bjork: Obviously, I can’t take her as an example of all feminists, but I find for my generation, it’s important to do things instead of just complaining that things are not right. It’s important to collaborate with both males and females and to be positive.
Feminists are the minority and there have been plenty of occasions where I have felt alone. I never thought of myself as isolated. There is plenty for feminist women and men to complain about, but feminism doesn't stop there. Feminism is about a shift in consciousness and action. It's about educating oneself and promoting a sense of community. Not an isolated community.
As a heterosexual female feminist, I can tell you that I get along better with men than I do women and it is men whom I choose as partners. Isolating myself from men would not help me do feminist work, nor would it satisfy my desire for a nurturing and growing romantic partnership.
In an interview Moore, said in reference to her 2007 film, Flawless,
"I am a great supporter of women, but I have never really thought of myself as a feminist, probably more of a humanist because I feel like that's really where we need to be."
I wish I knew more about her sentiments here. I don't know what her idea of feminism is or what her personal feminist or not so feminist views are. Feminism is inclusive of everyone's rights. Men, women, children. I think we all can consider ourselves humanists if that is what feels right. This certainly feels right for Moore, however, I wonder what it is about the word feminism that turns her off.
I feel pretty deflated. I admire all of these women, and here they all are, avoiding the f-word. I don't fully blame these women for their ignorance. Ignorance; meaning, lack of knowledge. They are not unintelligent women but truly misinformed and victims of patriarchal thinking. A patriarchal society equates to patriarchal influences.
My hurt is from the broken preconceived notions about these women. I didn't expect them to push against feminism, I thought they would embrace it.