I have always believed that it is of the utmost importance that women support other women. It is one of the fundamentals of feminism and I am sad to see so many people toss aside the idea of support in favor of criticism when somebody chooses to negate their deeply-held philosophies. As desirable as it may be to simply tell the opposing side to fuck off, it’s not exactly a productive conversation.
We live in confusing times. This is a world in which a Black Widow movie has yet to be greenlit and Ryan Gosling continues to be ignored as the most obvious candidate for Sexiest Man Alive. I often feel I don’t know up from down, and at times find myself so confused I can’t tell where my feminist ideology is in relationship to my love of the male population.
It seems that Shailene Woodley may be feeling similarly overwhelmed by this baffling world. For the second time, the young actress has adamantly denied the idea that she is a feminist. Her quotes regarding the issue seem to demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of the entire concept. She first enlightened us to her ill-informed perspective in an interview with Time magazine last May. When asked if she identified as a feminist, she stated:
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. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.
And more recently, in an interview with Nylon, Shailene clarified her views:
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. 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.
As a part of my quest to help raise other women up, I’ve decided to provide a clarifying list to help Shailene Woodley navigate the way of the womb (as I’m sure it was once called at some holistic women’s gathering at some point in time).
Poppin Molly’s handy guide to feminism for spunky young Hollywood starlets
* Particularly handy for those anchoring major action franchises
Feminism does not want to take all of the power away from men
Shailane Woodley seems extremely concerned about the future employment prospects of men in America. And I can sympathize. I have neither the time, nor the energy (let alone the desire) to deprive all of the men of all of the jobs in a calculated effort to rob the male population of their ability to support themselves.
I already work a very taxing job. I’m deeply committed to my return to college. I’m too busy to take on the financial responsibilities of my home while Joel sits at home and looks pretty. For the time being, I think we all just want a few more doors to open for women.
We’ll hold off on purging the job market of penis – for the time being.
You can still love men
I don’t like most people I encounter in this world, but god dammit, I love my boyfriend – who, if you were not aware, is a man. 90 percent of the time he’s the only person I can be around without feeling my energy is being stolen by the sheer presence of another human body. It may sound surprising to Shailene, given the misandrist propaganda fed to her by whatever very angry – and possibly intoxicated – individual first explained feminism to her. But you can love men – even actively support them – and still call yourself a feminist.
You can even find the majority of the human race utterly intolerable, and still love the concept of both genders.
Hell, you can want to punch most people in the throat simply because they have the gall to breathe the same air as you, and still have a vested interest in their well-being, no matter what their gender identity may be.
…. I’m realizing that, despite my love for men and women alike, I may have some antisocial tendencies that need work.
You can be two things at once
Nobody wants to be pigeonholed into one single identity. It turns us into caricatures, not humans. But I have good news for you, Shailene! Feminist is only ONE of the things you can be. We live in the land of opportunity, where one can be a feminist and a [insert whatever career or life accomplishment is most inspiring to you] too!
You, Shailene Woodley, could be a feminist and the first action heroine to endorse the eating of insects and sunbathing of one’s genitals. You could be a trailblazer!
But please remember to thank feminism for giving you the opportunity to freely discuss your alternative practices with the general public.
You can be in touch with your masculine side
Part of the basic premise of feminism is that you can’t define what a proper woman is. You wanna be in touch with your masculine side, you go ahead, Shailene. You wanna prove that you are more perfectly proportioned than the rest of us, not only in bone structure but also in yin-yang energy, as apparently you’ve achieved a perfect 50-50 balance between masculine and feminine energy – well, you go ahead.
I promise to protect you from those who would sniff out your masculine vibes and attempt to rob you of your current film projects in favor of a full-blooded woman.
You can embrace everyone
Shailene seems concerned that calling herself a feminist will prevent her from being able to embrace those who are differently-genitaled (as every good feminist knows that genitals have nothing to do with feminism, or even what it necessarily means to be a woman).
The idea of feminism is that you have an understanding of the oppressive systems that affect women, and that there are different needs to be met. You can, and should, love and embrace people of all different backgrounds. Like, that’s a good thing, Shailene.
Nobody’s stopping you from appreciating people of all different backgrounds … Are they? Have you fallen victim to a hoard of rabid feminists who are physically restraining you from sending positive vibes to anyone who isn’t a woman?
Blink once for yes and twice for no. Help will be on the way soon.
Here’s hoping that Shailene has gained some better perspective on what it does and doesn’t mean to be a feminist. We want Shailene, and all men and women, to feel comfortable and safe within their own skin, while being held on equal ground with each other.
So you be whatever you want to be, Shailene. Just don’t be a dismissive jerk while being it.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.