7 celebrities whose bold feminist acts made the world sit up and take notice
Sometimes, all it takes is for your struggle to be recognised
In recent times, there have been acts of rebellion, some seemingly small, some larger, that have forced the world to look up and take notice of the current state of inequality. It’s something that clicks with every woman, actress or not, when someone points out that we haven’t been awarded what we deserve simply because of our gender. The most recent feminist case was Kristen Stewart taking off her heels on the Cannes red carpet. While you may assume that’s just regular Saturday night post-dancing behaviour, her gesture had power. Because previously, women have been turned away from the red carpet for wearing flats, which were not part of the accepted red carpet dress code.
A small act of defiance, but many small acts have started big movements.
Deepika to Sonam, 7 celebrities whose bold feminist acts made jaws drop:
Frances McDormand didn’t just accept her award at the Oscars and give the conventional thank you speech. Best Actress winner McDormand got all her female colleagues in the audience to stand up and then urged all the male Hollywood bosses to ensure they didn't just offer platitudes and lip service to the women, but actually followed up with job offers and projects. Frances coined the term ‘inclusion rider’ which means that men in power should do their part to make sure deserving women get their due.
In line with the ‘inclusion rider’ theme, Mark Wahlberg made a bold statement when he donated $1.5 million in Michelle Williams’ name to the #TimesUp legal fund. That was the exact difference between their pay slips while working on All The Money In The World reshoots. “I 100% support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5 million to the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund in Michelle Williams’ name,” said Wahlberg about the gross difference in pay.
Sonam Kapoor has been a long time fighter for feminist values, even writing an essay on what feminism means to her. In a recent press conference, a female reporter asked why she had deleted a picture of Deepika Padukone promoting PadMan from her Instagram. Sonam, who had done no such thing, found it ridiculous that the reporter would even try and stir up a problem where there was none. "I can't imagine a woman is asking me these questions... do you not like other women? Don't create controversy where there is none. I expect a woman to support other women, not create these situations. So support other women, so we can all move forward," Sonam said, schooling anyone watching and trying to tear women down.
Fed-up with the lack of empowered female roles Reese Witherspoon saw around her, the actress decided to take a stand by starting her own production company with the mission to tell stories about women. She even put her own money into it. The production company has been a success, producing women-centric stories like Wild and Big Little Lies.
"You can feel a sense of 'am I stepping over the line, do I deserve it?' But if you believe you deserve it, then you do," the actress said, while addressing the issue of the pay gap. Deepika confirmed that she demanded what she thought she was worth for Padmaavat, whether or not it surpassed that of what her co-stars were making. “I think you should get what you think you deserve. It's okay to fight for it, and it's okay to feel uncomfortable initially, because that's just the way we've been made to feel for so long."
Kristen Stewart recently walked a red carpet at Cannes and mid-way through, took off her heels to walk up the staircase. Heels are rumoured to be a mandatory part of the Cannes red carpet dress code and Stewart was having none of it. "If [a man and I] were walking the red carpet together and someone stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, young lady, you’re not wearing heels. You cannot come in,’ then [I’m going to say], ‘Neither is my friend. Does he have to wear heels?’” she said about the incident. “It can work both ways. It’s just like you simply cannot ask me to do something that you are not asking him. I get the black-tie thing but you should be able to do either version — flats or heels.”
When producing Veere Di Wedding, Rhea Kapoor was convinced Kareena Kapoor Khan was perfect for one of the roles and signed her onto the project. Shortly after, Kareena discovered she was pregnant and offered to drop out. It was at that point that Rhea said she would put the project on hold and resume filming after Kareena's pregnancy, awarding Kareena the opportunity of being an example to working mothers. It's not often women get the choice between career and family, we hope Rhea's example will be followed by other producers.