Monday, May 5, 2014

In which I rant about FEMINISM

As I was busily procrastinating this afternoon, I happened upon a Twitter slam of Shailene Woodley. The Tweetosphere was mad about her claims in TIME that she is "not a feminist" and the fact that she generally sounded kind of like a moron. Also that as a "role model for teen girls," she ought not to sound so stupid.

Well, folks, according to Wikipedia, our adorable Shailene at 22, "attended" (does not say she graduated) Simi Valley High School, started modeling at the age of four and, in her teens, played a knocked-up teenager on a popular but achingly poorly written Family Channel television series (the script of which may have been her most consistent reading matter for those years).

I don't have a Wikipedia entry but I'll tell you now that my two eldest sons are 19 and 17, not much younger than Shailene herself and they are, each in his own inimitable way, naive, pompous, self-righteous and judgmental from time to time. They are also loving, hopeful and fans of some of the worst, stupidest movies you will ever see. And, good or bad, the reasons they choose things are hilarious. They've both watched THE NOTEBOOK because they thought it'd help them get girls to kiss them. They read Twilight for the same reason. These are kids who get As in school. One is in college, the other is taking two honors and two AP courses in high school right now. But, they, even with their stable family life and (possibly) superior education, are fit to be ROLE MODELS for NOBODY!

So, yeah, I get it, Shailene came off as a dumb bunny, anti-feminist in TIME. But she's 22 and, despite navigating an impressive career trajectory, what we SHOULD BE TELLING OUR DAUGHTERS (and sons) is this:

Celebrities, athletes and (some? many?) politicians 
These are people whose LIFE GOAL is FAME and/or POWER. 
They live strange, atypical existences surrounded by people whose own livelihoods depend on flattering and agreeing with them.

Choose better role models than the people you see on television
Even if they are pretty, buff or wearing a well-cut suit. Even if they act in a movie version of a book by John Green. For that matter, he's a better role model (even if I, as a midlist writer, am wildly jealous of his success) (and even if he is a dude--it's not like he chose to be born with that Y chromosome)!

I say, cheers to Shailene for trying and SOMEBODY GET THAT GIRL SOME BOOKS (along with more education and life experience in general).

PS: With respect to the term FEMINISM itself, I'm not even gonna GO there because whatever I say will certainly get me in Twitter trouble. However, I believe in dignity and equality for ALL people regardless of race, gender, sexual preference and unfortunate quotes in Time magazine.

1 comment:

Katherine Longshore said...

Thanks for this, Stasia! As an off-the-handle ranter myself, I needed a little perspective, and you've provided it.