It seems to have become a trend that if you’re a famous, successful woman, you will at some point be asked, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?”
“Insurgent” star Shailene Woodley first answered that question last year in an interview with Time, saying, “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance…I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.”
The 23-year-old’s comments were met with a ton of backlash from critics who stepped in to note that feminism doesn’t mean man-hating or power-taking. Rather, feminism is, by definition, purely about advocating for equality between men and women.
Almost a year after that initial “F word” frenzy, Shai is back to defend herself once again. In a new interview with Nylon -- she's on the cover of the mag’s April issue -- she clarified that she DOES believe in equality, but she still refuses to call herself a feminist.
“The reason why I don’t like to say that I am a feminist or I am not a feminist is because to me it’s still a label,” she explained. “I do not want to be defined by one thing. Why do we have to have that label to divide us? We should all be able to embrace one another regardless of our belief system and regardless of the labels that we have put upon ourselves.”
Shailene also admitted that she was shocked by the media sh-tstorm that followed her initial comments about feminism.
“I mean, if we spent as much energy focusing on the genocide that’s going on right now in parts of Africa as we spent on that one article, think about what we could accomplish,” she told Nylon. “Change is not going to come from focusing on the small things that actors say.”
Shai does have a valid point -- the push for celebs to identify themselves as feminist or antifeminist has become sort of a “gotcha” question that’s sometimes only used to stir up controversy. Nevertheless, it’s an important conversation that needs to be had, especially since women are still fighting for wage equality and equal rights.
No matter how Shailene chooses to define herself, we’d like to think her heart is in the place. After all, the fact that she consistently chooses strong female roles, like Tris Prior, proves she’s determined to make sure women are better represented in Hollywood. And that’s something we can all root for.