By Nova M. Bajamonti
Actress Keira Knightley proudly labels herself a feminist and regularly stands up for women. She's been outspoken in interviews, advocating for better treatment of women in entertainment, whether it's the roles available to them or the way their bodies are portrayed in magazines.
Yet, why is it that when we think of celebrity feminists, she isn’t in the notorious feminist echelon of Beyonce, Lorde, Taylor Swift and Emma Watson?
She’s fearless when it comes to her bold opinions, and that’s why, when we're looking for more role models in Hollywood, we should look straight at Knightley. It’s time for Keira Knightley to take her rightful place in the ranks of Hollywood feminist heroes.
Here are just a few reasons we're loving her right now.
When it comes to Photoshop, she just says no.
In November she protested against the way women are constantly picked apart through Photoshop by posing topless in Interview Magazine, refusing retouching. Not only did this please those who support the #freethenipple campaign (Miley’s a proud one!) but it demanded that women are respected for the body that they naturally have.
“so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” a href="http://time.com/3559286/keira-knightley-topless-photoshop/#3559286/keira-knightley-topless-photoshop/" target="_blank">Knightley told Time. “That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”
While celebrity photography can be artful, she also said it can be problematic when it manipulates women's images. “I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame," she said.
She's nobody's double standard.
Knightley is quick to point out that women often find themselves in more submissive or domestic roles that hyper-sexualize them, while men more often play leaders and heroes. When women’s bodies are the focus, it creates an objectifying culture that teaches young women to not be empowered sexually.
She's no pushover! Knightley told Net-A-Porter that she isn't afraid to skip a role: “I’ve turned a lot [of roles] down because of it, mostly because of really overt sex and violence that is just, in my view, not justified. I’m not saying that there can’t be really interesting stories about sex and violence, but a lot of it I just think, ‘This is gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous, and you’d never ask a dude to do this.’"
She wants movies to woman up.
Knightley is extremely vocal in regards to challenging the old paradigm of women only portraying characters that deal with issues within the household and relationships, and rarely in careers. Knightley argues that most cinematic depictions of women are seen through the eyes of middle-aged men.
Appearing on the cover of Violet Magazine, Knightley uses her platform to raise awareness: “Where are the female stories? Where are they? Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that?" she asked. "So yes, I think the pay is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard.”
No white horse necessary.
As if you're not convinced by now, Knightley says she flat-out refuses to be anyone's damsel in distress. “Why should you wait for some f--king dude to rescue you?” she asked Net-A-Porter.
All hail Keira Knightley, our new Hollywood feminist hero!