ART BY ESTELLE ZHOU
By SIDNEY WONG
I bet everyone has heard the remark, “You punch like a girl!”
For centuries, women have been forced to endure misogyny without being able to be heard; only recently have feminists started speaking out against the patriarchal system. Many prominent celebrities like Beyoncé have publicly demonstrated their commitment to the feminist cause by creating songs that support female independence. Other celebrities, including actor Ian Somerhalder, telling She Knows, “The men placed in positions of patriarchal power need a massive shift to correspond with women’s uprising and support this societal shift as a whole . . . When we celebrate the true and irrefutable power of women, we can then truly celebrate the power of men.” Despite the positive examples of feminism, has this movement started to become repetitive and oversimplified?
Women have indisputably made progress towards gender equality throughout history, but as social media gains popularity, feminism has become a frequent topic that is not being properly depicted. In many instances, celebrities unintentionally spread a false image of feminists to their wide audience.
Every other post one sees on social media has an influencer speaking out about feminism or even degrading anti-feminists. But why? What are they trying to prove? Many celebrities have a massive platform to influence others, but they sometimes take advantage of their platform to deceive followers. According to The Independent, 30% of Taylor Swift’s followers admitted that because of her involvement in feminist issues, they lose interest in the feminist narrative. The same followers also claimed that she used feminism as a publicity tool to gain supporters. Celebrities like Swift depict feminists as irrational and anti-male, negatively changing people’s perception of feminism by implying that women are self-absorbed.
In fact, a national survey conducted by Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation found that four in ten Americans believe the feminist movement is ill-natured and unfairly blames men for women’s issues. Those who took the survey were asked, “Which of the following do you think is a bigger factor keeping women from achieving full equality with men?” 44% of women responded it is the choices they make themselves, another 44% answered it as discrimination while the last 12% said both or other. This divisive statistic puts into perspective of the current feminist movement, proving ineffective.
Some would argue, “Won’t some effort be better than none?” Perhaps, but if it is damaging the image of feminism, what is the point? Feminist posers cause misinterpretation and paint the wrong picture of the feminist community. Instead, people should avoid nonsense that a majority of celebrities falsely publicize.
A more effective way of supporting the feminist cause is attending marches and public demonstrations. In an interview with a Bustle journalist, actress Juliette Binoche states, “[Feminism] just puts people in a stereotyped way of thinking. I think creation and doing, being active, is more important that talking about it.” Being active in the feminist community creates a bigger impact by uniting feminists and producing one substantial voice.
Nonetheless, gender equality has undeniably come a long way in the past century and we should acknowledge and praise feminists for their contribution towards egalitarianism. However, in order to make a lasting impact on the feminist cause, we must not merely address the same overused adages; we must take action. Next time you hear, “You punch like a girl”, respond with, “What’s wrong with that?”