Romola Garai: ‘I’m a feminist. God, yes! A bra-burning, building-burning feminist’

I’m coming into this post knowing that most of you will probably skip over it entirely, and those that do read it will fall into two camps: one camp of people will just scream “WHO?” and comment about the photos without reading. The second camp – a determined minority – will read and discuss. To those people: Hello! I wish there more of you! So, who is Romola Garai? She’s an English actress that I adore. She’s been in such films as Angel (with Fassbender!), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Atonement, One Day and Glorious 39 (which I recently watched and it freaked me the f—k out). Like many English actors, she moves with ease between films and TV projects, and she’s might be best known to American audiences for her critically acclaimed role in the British TV show The Hour (also starring Ben Whishaw and Dominic West), which airs on BBC America here in the states.

Beyond her outstanding career, Romola is sort of known as “one of those slightly larger-than-average actresses who always ends up talking about body image, like being over a size 6 is somehow enormously groundbreaking.” Like, Romola is seen as a “throwback” to the time when women were expected to have a “sturdier” build and childbearing hips. In truth, Romola is only slightly larger than the average skinny actress, which she acknowledges fully. In a new interview, Romola talks about body image, magazine airbrushing, The Hour and feminism. You can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights (note: I’m assuming the sizes given are UK sizes).

Being a size 10 in the industry: “My weight was a very big issue when I started. I was then – and am now – a very normal size 10. But that’s not acceptable. Everyone’s aware of it. It’s partly because fashion, film and television have become so interdependent. Increasingly, it’s actresses doing the big fashion advertising campaigns and now there’s no distinction between actresses and models. There’s no way I could ring up a company that was lending me a red carpet dress and say, ‘Do you have it in a 10?’ Because all the press samples are an eight – I would say a small eight. If you want the profile, you have to lose the weight.”

Airbrushing: “It’s difficult because if I refuse to do any magazines at all, my work, I think, would suffer in a very immediate way. But when I appear in these magazines, I know I’m being ‘trimmed’. I’m being airbrushed a lot. And I know that people are accepting those images and are under the impression that that is really how my body looks, that I’m hairless and sexless and weigh 90 lbs. That really worries me. And I really don’t know what to do except talk about it.”

She acknowledges that dudes get the same thing too, discussing the situation where Jason Segel was ordered to lose 30 lbs: “Executives said it just wasn’t credible that anyone would want to have sex with him the way he was. I think that is such a profound misreading of what people want out of sex and relationships. And I want no part of that. I wouldn’t want to sit in a room and have someone say to my face, ‘No-one is going to want to have sex with you’. No job is worth that.”

On the nostalgia for the 1950s (the era of The Hour): “I find it strange when women get nostalgic for that era. I can see – just about – that we have lost some of what might be called the security of being in the home, but what we’ve gained seems to me so much greater.”

Feminism: “I’m a feminist. God, yes! A bra-burning, building-burning feminist. I was brought up with a very strong sense of what can happen if your society starts to chip away at the small victories women have won for themselves. I remember when I was about nine, there was a timeline of British history on the wall at school and “votes for women” was about an inch before the end. We’re just a hundred years into having any history of our own and I never forget that.”

[From The Radio Times via The Telegraph]

“I was brought up with a very strong sense of what can happen if your society starts to chip away at the small victories women have won for themselves… We’re just a hundred years into having any history of our own and I never forget that.” She’s amazing, isn’t she? I love her combination of idealism and pragmatism, and I just wish more women would talk like this. Like, what are you afraid of? BE a strident feminist. Own it!

As for the body image stuff… I understand what she’s saying when she talks about how she needs to do the press and the magazines to support her work, and how she doesn’t know how to deal with the crazy and false images she’s helping to perpetuate, so she’s just going to talk about it.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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121 Responses to “Romola Garai: ‘I’m a feminist. God, yes! A bra-burning, building-burning feminist’”

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  1. Miss Kiki says:

    Love love love Ramola. I wish more women my age didn’t view feminism as such a dirty word. It’s gone from being a term of empowerment to having so many negative connotations attached to it. Sometimes it makes me despair.

    • XiuFetish says:

      Agree. It makes me crazy when young women claim not to be feminists. Do they support equal pay for equal work? Do they agree that women should not face discrimination? If so, they are, by default, “feminists” and should embrace the title proudly, as Romola does. She’s one smart cookie.

    • Poppy says:

      Absolutely – I genuinely can’t understand women who claim not to be feminists! Do you want to vote, get paid for your work, be *allowed* to work, have legal custody of your children, choose if and when to have children and how many, own property, get divorced, control who has access to your vagina, choose who you marry and if you marry? Then you’re a feminist. The word has really got to be reclaimed, and we really need more women and men to proudly shout that they’re a feminist.

    • RN says:

      Rush Limbaugh’s smear campaign against women was quite effective back in the day when he started tossing about the hateful phrase “feminazi”. Now you have a generation of women younger than me who distanced themselves from feminism, as per the social constructs of the late 80s/early 90s. Plus, women thought they didn’t have to fight anymore. What a joke, because this is precisely when women’s rights began to carefully and systematically erode.

    • Chordy says:

      Agreed! I read an interview with Ellen Page once where she said that the fact that “feminism” has such a weird connotation just shows how much we still need it.

    • Liv says:

      I’m surprised that she’s obviously pretty cool. She just ruined Dirty Dancing 2 for me. And she was Dexter’s awful ex-wife in One Day, so I never liked her on screen ;-)

      Is there a film where she’s good in? I’ll see it then.

      • JD says:

        She was great in “The Crimson Petal and the White”, on Encore. I had never heard of her before this miniseries, now I can’t get enough of her. : )

      • The Original Genevieve says:

        Liv, honestly? I think that is a matter of opinion.

        The first time I ever saw Romola was in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. OK…the flick wasn’t great. But her acting in that stupid film and subsequent works has been understated but stellar. I honestly never knew her “size” was an issue?? I LOVE this girl! Her views, her acting, her weight. More articles, PLEASE on talented, lesser known actresses like RG! :D

      • Maria says:

        Romola was wonderful in Emma (the mini series), Daniel Deronda, Nicholas Nickleby, King Lear, Mary Bryant… (I love British period dramas:)

        I’m a fan of hers too. She is beautiful, smart and very well spoken woman and a very good actress who delivers solid performances. Love her work.

    • duchessofhazard says:

      There’s a lot of racism, cis sexism and transphobia within feminism though (see: Amanda Marcott and Caitlin Moran). As a woman of colour, that’s why I don’t really relate to it at all.

      • Chordy says:

        ^^this. Of all things that “make feminism look bad,” it’s not the refusal to couch feminism in terms that make MEN feel more comfortable, it’s making sure that feminism is a space that makes ALL WOMEN comfortable. I declare myself a feminist, because I strongly mean it in a way that includes all women, and I believe that fighting racism & homophobia are inextricable parts of the feminist fight for equality. Then again, as a white, cisgendered woman, I have not been actively excluded from the community, so I’m going to feel more comfortable with the term. I’m hoping we can do better to make feminism about all female experiences in the 21st century. Unfortunately, people suck at listening and just want to be heard.

      • LAK says:

        If you aren’t a feminist, what are you doing on CB? Infact, why do you have an opinion at all? As a non feminist or someone who ‘can’t relate to it at all’, you aren’t allowed to have one. Nor the freedom to enjoy your opinion, or be able to come to CB and share that opinion with us. And you can read too, reading that covers authors like Cailtlin Moran….That is NOT allowed if you aren’t a feminist.

        The very fact that you are doing and enjoying those things makes you a feminist.

        Finally, please would you explain how Feminism is racist. I fail to see how women of colour are excluded from feminism.

    • Issa says:

      A lot of the girls that trash feminists are some of the biggest divas & b*tches I’ve met. Men beware of some women that claim the anti-feminist label. They are out for your blood, a ring and money. BTW….thanks CB for a Romola posting :)

      • melior says:

        100% agree! Men avoided feminists in the past because of what they perceived as aggressiveness but behind the obvious aggressiveness of ANY revendication there usually lies an honest and sympathetic heart. The feminist who are portrayed as ‘harpies’ as often just defending sincere convictions whereas antifeminist women who like to play it soft and seductive just to attract men are often duplicitous, manipulative and in it for the money. Yet, men seem to be more accepting of the latter even though they denounce them later on as heartless and users.

    • olaf78 says:

      Paternalism wins when it convinces young women (who enjoy freedom to express their sexuality, to earn and keep their money, to CHOOSE a life they want) that feminism is a dirty word. It also wins when young women excuse aggressive fellatio ‘because the noises he was making meant he was really enjoying himself.’ (swear to god I heard this)

      Somewhere in amongst becoming consummate consumers we decided that we were also in the service industry.

      I’m a feminist because it is foolish to believe that this world (our developed one) is in any way equal -hello ‘legitimate rape’.
      Sexism is hard to spot, and society is nicely calibrated to shout down anyone who notices and calls it out.
      I’m a feminist until there is true and genuine equality and then I’ll be a humanist.

      Romola Garai is wonderful and I hope there are lots of women who are like her, and lots more will take her example and speak about these things.

    • joan of snark says:

      Oh, tell me about it! I was in class a week ago (college, GRADUATE level class!!) and we were discussing if an author was feminist or not. A student says, “Well, I wouldn’t call her a rabid feminist…” Can you believe? Rabid cause she’s a, what, racoon? No. A bitch-dog. So I bit his head off.
      LOVE this actress. She has earned my undying attention and I will pay special heed to support all her endeavors.

  2. Amelia says:

    I ADORE The Hour! It’s coming back this week!
    It’s really nice to see someone embracing feminism rather than burying it away as if it’s a dirty word.
    I always thought feminism was about equality; a few of my old friends from Uni tried to turn it into a “women are the best sex, men are useless and suck the soul out of us..” thing, which put me off for a while.
    But I see feminism as a fight for equality. There is no ‘superior sex’, but there is absolutely no reason for your pay packet to vary because you were born with either tits or a dick.
    Ah. Happy Friday everyone :)

    • Miss Kiki says:

      Amelia I totally agree, I get the feeling that you’re about the same age as me. It frustrates me that people wrongly associate feminism with ‘man hating’ it’s about equality and understanding that just because I have a decent(awesome) set of tits it doesn’t mean that you’re superior to me.

      • lonely hunter says:

        Agree with everything you said. I love The Hour and am only sad that i have to wait til Nov. 28 to watch on BBC America.
        I hate when these successful women claim not to be feminists because they think men and women are equal (ie Swifty). I just want to shake them and say that’s exactly what it means! So proud of Romola for getting it right!

    • Lisa says:

      Whaatt? I thought it was a mini-series, i.e., one set of episodes and that was it. It’s coming BACK? SWEET. More Ben Whishaw and more Romola, who was fantastic in Emma, by the way.

  3. Cloe says:

    I love Ramola! And I can certainly say, as a 21 year old female living in Australia, there is definitely a cultural trend in my generation to dismiss feminism as a joke. It’s ‘uncool’ or laughable for a girl to openly claim she’s a feminist, and it worries me that I also see girls of my generation engaging in ‘feminist-shaming’. We confuse sexual freedom with female empowerment.
    We need more role models like Ramola.

    • Micki says:

      I like her as an actress too but it may help her feminist cause if she was talking more about the roles she took and what impact she attempted with them seen through her feminist point of view.
      Instead she talks body image and airbrushing, which is a topic to any given starlet AND she perpetuates the non-feminist stance.

      Plus The Vicar of Dibley comes to mind. The show was from 1999 till 2007 and Dawn French is everything but not size 10. And she has a resume and nominations enough for two.

      (All in all she could do better job promoting feminism than talking body sizes.

    • LAK says:

      Sexual freedom is a byproduct of feminism

      Feminism isn’t just about the arena of work or which gender is superior, and I think that gets lost in the noise around those two issues.

      There are many, many areas of life that feminism has enhanced, that makes us all feminism, I really don’t understand women who deny it.

    • pfeiffer87 says:

      ‘We confuse sexual freedom with female empowerment.’

      THIS

      I think that some entertainers like Rihanna and Madonna etc think that because they gyrate on stage and wear next to nothing that somehow they’re empowering women and making them feel ‘good’ about their body and they equate this with feminism. When in fact they’re just perpetuating the age old notion that women are sexual objects and ‘that’ is what being a woman is all about.

      • LAK says:

        i disagree.

        Being free to flaunt your body shows that we have taken back our bodies to do with as WE [women] please. Ditto the slut movement. And it is empowering to wear little clothing and NOT be stoned/arrested/slut shamed for it. same applies to sexual freedom. There are still countries were a woman has no control over her sexuality. Women are entombed in clothing because men are both afraid and in control of women’s clothing and sexuality. It just shows just how much men are afraid of us. So afraid they have to control these things. As recently as the 50s showing skin was always = to a loose woman with few exceptions such as white tie events but even then, women had to wear past elbow length gloves to minimise the exposure.

        Madonna/Rihanna are demonstrating women’s power in clothing and sexuality. And daring men to slut shame [or worse] them for it. That’s empowering.

        Now of course we could have a conversation about the commercialisation of it all by MAdge and Rihanna, but that’s a different discussion.

  4. Noa says:

    She sounds awesome! I’m definitely going to look up more of her work and wish more actresses would be so honest and open. x

  5. nettie says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of her. She intrigues me. What a great thing to say in an interview. I’m tired of people acting like feminism is a dirty word.

  6. Victoria says:

    I love her! Shes so good on The Hour. Also I love her curvy, she was hot in that horrible dirty dancing sequel.

  7. Agnes says:

    don’t know who she is, but i wish the bra-burning myth would finally go away. it’s all anti-feminist propaganda – there’s never been a documented incident of bra burning at a rally, in public, etc. people just made that crap up to make feminists sound more threatening (it’s clearly worked).

  8. mln76 says:

    I am only familiar with her from Atonement which was a great film. I love that she embraces her feminism its important we need as many intelligent women out there as possible talking this way.

  9. OhMyMy says:

    I love her. I’ll watch anything she’s in.

  10. Jenny says:

    LOVE THIS. She is so amazing. This is what we need women to protray feminisim as. Go Romola

  11. Figleaf says:

    Hurrah! Good for her! I wish more actors were like her and nailed their colours to the mast, instead of uhming and ahing about it and refusing to label themselves as a feminist.

  12. blaugaro says:

    Great interview. Please, more posts like this!

  13. hannah says:

    I didn’t know who she was but I love her already!

  14. Gabyrana says:

    Romola also starred in a TV series based on Jane Austen’s Emma, with Johnny Lee Miller as Mr Knighley.

  15. elena says:

    You should watch her in “Rory O’Shea Was Here”. Fantastic film. It will make you cry your eyes out. It also has James McAvoy. Anyway, she’s beautiful, intelligent and a very good actress.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Oh my god yes, that movie! They were all so good in that. It made me laugh and cry and slightly uncomfortable. Very good film.

      I love her and she’s been very consistent on this topic. I remember after Havana Nights came out she said that she had a hard time during filming because it became clear that the producers probably regretted hiring her. I think that quote is on IMDB. Something about they should have hired a skinny one like Kate Bosworth.
      The movie sucks horribly but I’ve watched it more than once just for her and Diego Luna.

      And hell YEAH on the feminism quote! I hate that so many women think it’s unsexy to be a feminist. Ugh.

  16. Sarah says:

    What a breath of fresh air! I hope she achieves everything she’s working toward.

  17. Nanz says:

    She’s amazing! Thanks for introducing me/us to her! She makes me feel great about my own size 10 body!

  18. Ann says:

    Feminism is sexy. Feminists are sexy.

  19. T.C. says:

    Nice to hear from an intelligent and honest actress not afraid to tell it like it is.

  20. smiley says:

    my ex used to adore her ,he said thats how women should be ,healthy looking and wise ,i adore her too my favourite movie of her is dirty dancing !

  21. dee says:

    Wow, a Romola post! I first saw her in Emma and have been in love with her ever since.

  22. Jenna says:

    Good for her! And I think she looks great. I know I’ve seen her in something other than her works listed here, though I don’t recall. BUT, did she really have to use the ‘bra-burning’ analogy? Feminism has become so much more since then. I can understand the nostalgia of wanting to live in past times though; the romanticism of certain era’s can cloud everything else.

  23. Spaz says:

    Ugh. I hate the feminist shaming. It’s just another way to put women in their “place”. I’m not familiar with romola but I intend too. Love her. It’s so unfair she smaller than me and yet she’s considered “sturdy”. Sigh.

  24. Noel says:

    I do not think she is very big. She is much smaller than Kim Kardashian or Christina Hendricks! She had a great body!

  25. Bucky says:

    She did such a fabulous job in Atonement that I’ve hated her (and the younger version of Briony) ever since. But dang, I might have to reverse that. She’s intelligent and thoughtful and well spoken about feminism and the industry. That’s a rare thing.

  26. Heather H says:

    UK size 10 is a US size 6, hardly fat! Though I guess by Hollywood standards anything over a size 0 is fat, stupid industry.

  27. gg says:

    LOVE HER! I have her name TiVo’d and watch literally everything she’s in. She’s always in the best period flicks as well.

  28. Victoria says:

    I adore Glorious 39. Thanks for posting this and mentioning that amazing, overlooked film.

  29. Flo says:

    I Loooooove Romola. Such a shame she isn’t more famous while other actresses of less talent are constantly in the spotlight. Sigh.
    Anyway, she’s fantastic on The Hour, cannot wait for the show to come back.
    Like everybody said, it’s so refreshing to hear an actress proudly calling herself a feminist (although it’s sad that something as fundamental as feminism is still to this day being derided).

  30. original almond says:

    She is such a talented actress. I think I’ve seen most of her period productions and she shone in every single one.
    As for the feminist thing, I don’t see how anyone could say they are not a feminist. What does that even mean? Are they saying they are against equal rights for women? It boggles my mind.

  31. Gretchen says:

    Yay! Love her! She does wonderful work and it’s so refreshing to hear the way she talks about feminism…particularly considering the Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga take on it. I do hope she gets more press because she seems like a genuinely good role model for girls and young women. Team Feminist And Proud

  32. Chordy says:

    I love this woman so much, and it makes me love Celebitchy even more than I do already that everyone else here loves her and are waiving our proud feminist flags! I also really liked how she said out loud that if an actress wants the high profile, she has to fit the body standard, and I like how she talked about the Jason Segel thing in addition. My husband and I were talking last night about how women are gaining more equality and respect, but now men are now becoming increasingly held to more unrealistic body standards. Interesting that instead of reducing oppression, we’re just redistributing it.

  33. buckley says:

    A Romola post!!
    yay…love her.

  34. Melissa says:

    Love her! But also insanely jealous that she gets to be around Dominic West in The Hour!

  35. j.eyre says:

    “I was brought up with a very strong sense of what can happen if your society starts to chip away at the small victories women have won for themselves… We’re just a hundred years into having any history of our own and I never forget that” – I, too, really like this statement. I think it is an important message for everyone…

  36. Leila says:

    I like her as an actress! But now I feel bad for thinking she looked chunky in Emma. I guess after Gwyneth she looked a bit hefty.

  37. Maya says:

    I love her. As a side note, I just finished reading The House of Mirth and if they ever make another film version she’d be a perfect Lily Bart. She could probably bring a really intelligent, feminist perspective to the character and the novel. Hollywood, get on this!

  38. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Weird..she looks so familiar to me but I haven’t seen any of the shows/movies mentioned here. Might have to IMDB.

    She sounds amazing, based on this interview. I love the pragmantic/honest combo-my fave.

  39. SCREEEE says:

    She’s been great in everything I’ve seen, and the whole interview is intelligent and amazing. It KILLS me when T-Swizzle or whoever just pussyfoot around the word ‘feminist’. What is the problem here? I’m a 22 year old MAN and I have no problem calling myself a feminist.

  40. Sefa says:

    I’ve been a fierce fan of Romola’s for years now, and she has always been very intelligent when she addresses the whole image thing. She doesn’t play the martyr because she knows she’s average if not smaller than average outside the celebrity bubble. She also ends up wearing some atrocious things on the red carpet that don’t flatter her amazing figure at all. I assume it’s due to the lack of clothes for women with an actual shape. Personally, the period stuff from The Hour is the kindest on her, and she puts the stick twigs to shame.

  41. me says:

    While I am not familiar with her work (but will look her up!) I am a card carrying feminist and applaud her public statements. I think we as women – whether we identify as feminist or not – need to support women’s rights, freedoms and choices. I think this last election sure told us that women’s choices and bodies are theirs alone and by acknowledging and protecting that you are ‘doing’ feminism!

  42. Cirque28 says:

    Count me in as another one in the determined minority here!

    I love what she said about airbrushing– it reminds us that sometimes the actors are given a hard time about it by the magazine-buying public, but they (the actors) don’t necessarily have much control over their own images. If you are Oprah or Angelina Jolie, I’m sure you can say yes or no to airbrushing. But for a lesser-known person, you have to play the game at least a little.

  43. TQB says:

    I officially worship her now and thank you very much for sharing this!

  44. oivey says:

    Love her. Everyone else has pretty much said what I think already…especially about Emma. My favourite adaptation.

  45. Diana says:

    I totally love her. She’s outstanding and seems to have a good head on her shoulders.

  46. ichsi says:

    She’s awesome in interviews, lovely, clever woman. Though I will always know her as the PRETTY ONE (unlike some other actress with a strange jaw *cough* Keira*cough*) who got to work with both Fassbender and McAvoy.

  47. Steph says:

    She is one of my favorite British actresses. I didn’t realize that her “size” was ever an issue. Looks small to me but honestly who cares? She is such a good actress and totally gorgeous. I loved her in Daniel Deronda, Amazing Grace & Emma both of which I bought.

  48. Lizi says:

    I am aware that my comment will be read as a provocation,but it is not. I deeply respect and admire every single woman who fought for womens’ rights. However, I am not a feminist,yet you may interpret my actions and personality to be the actions and personality of one. I never felt different from men and I never let myself be put down only because I am a woman. Perhaps life made this easy for me. I had many examples in my family that I didn’t want to follow,so I learned from them. I don’t even feel like a “woman”,but like a human being. I don’t believe in the man/woman social difference because it was all made up by stupid social standards, yet it exists and it can have such terrible extents for some women (India,just one example) that I feel myself very lucky, and I do protest against it in many ways. I don’t know if that makes me a feminist…Perhaps it does. In her famous speech Lady MacBeth asks to be “unsexed” and I never felt like I had to ask that.

    I do know why I don’t like the word feminism : I know many exagerated self-proclaimed feminists. Most of them are hypocrites and make me laugh at them with their fake statements while at the same time they’re showing off their new lipsticks and cleavage-boobs on facebook,asking people to take them seriously,doing absolutely nothing to change what supposedly bothers them in society. They are whiny. They are vain. They are nasty to other girls/women. They completely change their attitudes in a conversation if any guy is around. They make feminism look so bad…Hell, they make me want to defend men and all the disney movies they critizice (apparently if little girls want to be princesses they’re going to let themselves be abused or raped by men or they will have unrealistic “hair expectations”.)! It’s too much hypocrisy and the worst is that they don’t do anything for feminism…. sorry about the rant,but it gets really annoying. If you can’t stand up to what you supposedly believe,just stop faking you believe it.

    • Trashaddict says:

      I am curious how old you are. Have you been up against men for jobs? Have you been in a college class where the professor was more likely to answer the men with their hands up in the air? Have you checked your salary against men with the same training who are your age? If it’s equal, great then maybe we don’t need feminism. Have you really felt secure walking down the street at night? Then you are unusual. When all women can get to where they don’t fear for anything, then we can all be post feminists and call ourselves humanists instead. But we’ve got an awfully long way to go it you look at the status of women internationally. Actually, I don’t care what you call it. It’s what you do that’s important. Maybe that’s where you are coming from.

    • LAK says:

      Lizi – feminism isn’t just about feeling different from men. The entire movement started because women were treated as property and animals rather than human beings. It started as a fight to recognise women as human beings and not just animals that were only good for breeding. Women were not in control of anything as far as their own bodies, personalities, wants or needs.

      After that initial fight, which isn’t still won BTW,it became about other things like equal rights etc.

      Think about that little girl Malala who was shot for asking for the right to be educated. That is something we women in the west take for granted but is the kind of attitude that was the norm as far back as early last century.

      Women have fought every inch of the way for many of the things you now take for granted. And that’s why we are all feminists.

      Imagine a world that refuses to acknowledge you as a human being, where you are no better than the animals, have no say what so ever in anything to do with yourself, can be disposed of as the men in your household see fit etc

      That is still going on in many countries in the world.

      When women in Saudi Arabia have just been given the right to drive…TO DRIVE, as if they were completely incapable of it……or not being allowed to shop by themselves but have to be accompanied by a MALE relative who talks to the stall owners for them. Where your clothing is an issue and can get you killed if you show so much as an ankle….and i am not talking about the duggans.

      That’s what makes all of us feminists.

      Having your opinions valued is what makes you a feminist.

      The work issues are when you realise just how much we still need to do. When your opinions aren’t valued in class or work or you are not promoted, not given a job or paud less for the simple fact that you are a woman. Those are still ongoing issues.

      The fact that a woman with multiple sexual partners can be slut shamed where as a man gets a pat on the back, Or a hard working opinionated woman is called a bitch BUT the same qualities in a man are seen as authoritative and very good etc

      All these are feminist issues.

      Where family life is the preserve of women and any woman who opts out is considered lacking somehow etc.

      I would really recommend that you read up on everything that Feminism has done for you and allowed you to do, even in small ways such as being to have your checking account….this was only granted in the 1960s in the west because women were NOT seen fit to be able to handle money….Can you believe such nonsense??!!! Situations where your husband is ALLOWED to rape you because you are a woman…..and he is the Victim!!! This is allowed until the 70s and 80s in the west.

      Having an opinion at all, freely expressed is one of the BIGGEST and most important tenets of Feminism.

      Research how women who live regimes that do not acknowledge the basics of feminism….Then you will realise just how much of a feminist you are.

      That LAdy MacBeth Quote is an very good example of how far we have come as Feminists. If you read up real life examples of powerful women, they are derided and described in derogatory terms and thought to be in league with the devil for daring to do their jobs as well as men. Think about all the terms that are used to describe Margaret THatcher in order to discredit her.

      And finally, feminists are now free to flaunt their bodies because again using the example of Afghanistan, were you can be stones for showing an ankle. Those women on facebook are exercising their feminist right NOT to be judged or slut shamed or killed for showing their bodies. That is something we only got in the the last 50 yrs. YOu may not want to show your feminism in the same way but that is a right we have fought for and should not be cause for judgement.

      • MT says:

        I agree with you that it’s a good thing that we can show our bodies, but it bothers me that it is almost a requirement to look sexy (and not necessarily in a natural way) to be considered talented in any field.

        I know this is going to be an unpopular statement, but I do think that the increase in plastic surgery, fillers, etc, is just another type of burka. If you really believe you are doing it for yourself, go for it. But my personal opinion is that someone or something has ramped up the effort to make us think, that we, as women, are not acceptable the way we are born.

      • LAK says:

        @MT – Sex to sell a product and extreme methods of beauty maintanance is nothing new. we are just more obvious and or better informed about the downsides.

        Look at the medieval world where lead paint [for a white face] was used everyday despite the fact that it poisoned them!!

        Those low cut medieval gowns that practically showed areola. Not to mention codpieces! and stockings for men, all the better to showcase the legs and package!!!

        Corsets during the Edwardian era laced so tight to achieve the impossibly tiny waist that fainting was a common occurrence.

        Footbinding or neck stretching in some parts of the world was/is considered a beauty enhancer.

        Stripper heels.

        The entertainment business is unoriginal and they use whatever means to sell prodct. MAdonna did genuinely undress to make a statement in the beginning however, a consequence of that is that she sold more product. othyer stars/record labels took note and followed suit. I don’t think Rihanna has the intelligence to see beyond record sales in her undressing act. The fact that more product is sold from undressed stars or they achieve A list celebrity status because of their lack of dress says more about us the consumers than it does about them. If that gimmick didn’t work, they’d use something different.

        All of that said, i still applaud the fact that they can undress and flaunt their bodies without criminal/medical or social repercussions.

    • Lizi says:

      Hey Lak,thank you for all your points. I understand and agree with almost everything you wrote,yet I repeat that I am not a feminist. I know of the struggles and examples you gave among many others of the suffering of women both in past and present situations in different countries.

      I tried to reply to trashaddict before in a very long comment,but somehow it was deleted,which doesn’t make sense because my discourse was rather normal and by no means aggressive or unpolite,so I don’t really know what happened.

      I refered the situations she mentioned and applied them to men,because they too suffer those types and others of discrimination,just like we do. Perhaps not that frequently or perhaps people don’t pay much attention to them because their men,but throughout my life I’ve seen it happen.

      I fully support women’s rights and am aware of the terrible discrimination they suffer from the simple fact of being women in some countries,and it terrifies and disgusts me like racism,wars,injustice,violence,etc.
      I don’t consider myself a feminist because I don’t believe that only women suffer from gender-discrimination. Both men and women suffer from gender-discrimination and I’ve seen “feminist” women voicing cruel opinions and views regarding men,which I think is wrong, plus many feminists also discriminate women,which I think is wrong too. If being a feminist is not being tolerant towards other women’s lifestyles and perspectives,then I could not be a feminist (of course this is all a bit relative,but I think I make my point…we all know women can act as “poisonous snakes” sometimes). I’ve also known women who use feminism as an excuse for their conduct in certain situations.
      Some supposedly feminist women are also somewhat responsible for “chauvinistic” views that some men have of women simply because there’s a huge contradiction between their actions and their words.

      It’s not my intention to generalize and I don’t want to come of as too critical. I respect feminism and all feminists and non-feminist women who fought for women’s rights,and I know that if they hadn’t done that I’d be in a pickle right now, so bless them. I know many women are non-hypocritical feminists, for once one of my best friends is a feminist and she is just amazing at it.

      I am a human and animal rights kind of person,or better said, living being rights kind of person. I don’t like to make distinctions. We’re all humans. Hell,we’re all animals,living creatures, and I just wish we could all coexist in the most healthy,dignified and peaceful way. We’re in this world together and unfortunately I think we will never find a way to coexist peacefully,but I’ll keep wishing for it and doing whatever I can.

      • LAK says:

        Lizi – clearly you don’t understand that you ARE a feminist despite your objection to the word. By partaking in all the things the feminist movement has given to women, including something as simple as coming to CB to express your opinion, makes you a feminist. The choices available to you today, and the fact that you exercise those choices without fear of retribution is what makes you a feminist.Every woman who partakes in feminist privileges is a feminist. It may be expressed differently, and some people may be more or less aggressive in ways you don’t personally approve of, but it doesn’t negate them. Feminism isn’t perfect, and neither are feminists. No one is. Feminism isn’t about saying women are better or superior than men, even if some women interprete it that way. First and formeost it is about acknowledging that women are human beings because until 100yrs ago, we were not regarded as such, in law and cultural beyond our breeding capabilities.That is what we fight for.

        The examples you are describing is prejudice and ill manners which are a cultural thing. Someone behaving badly towards another human in their daily live is NOT going to prevent them from voting (as an example).ditto being cruel or rude to and about men. Being cruel/rude to and about men cuts accross the divide irrespective of race/religion/gender. Feminism is about balancing a situation where until 100yrs ago (and still going on in some countries), one gender completely subjugated the other gender despite that gender being 50% of the human race.

        And finally, I will remonstrate with you about saying you aren’t a feminist even if you do partake of feminist privileges. To use a bad analogy, that’s like saying you don’t drink but can be found every evening enjoying several bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages. You either drink or you don’t. Some people may drink more than others, some may be just social drinkers or alcoholics or a few sips of wine with lunch, but they are all drinkers And so with feminism.

      • Lizi says:

        LAK, there’s this thing called natural evolution that makes me disagree with you. It’s not because of feminism that I am commenting on CB. It’s because things change, for better or worse,things evolve. For once,a long,long time ago, in roman society, women had a lot of freedom. Then things changed. The way people live,the kind of freedom people enjoy has everything to do with change. Take the ancient greek society. Then homossexuality was a socially accepted thing. People were very open about it. Then things changed. I believe womens’ rights (or feminism,if you prefer) was/is part of the evolutive process,so don’t tell me it’s only because of feminists that I get to comment here or that I have to be a feminist. If I am against racism and I defend equality it doesn’t mean I belong to all ethnicities,does it?
        I also defend gay rights. Does that make me gay? My boyfriend respectfully disagrees.
        I also defend animal rights. Sure I am an animal, but,you know, I’m human.
        I am not a feminist. I am a humanist. I don’t like distinction or separation. The only distinction I make is between bad and good people,but I can’t help being judgemental on that because I am a pain in the ass of a moralist regarding people being cruel,unfair,selfish (etc) and doing things to harm or prejudice other people. It’s as simple as that…

  49. Genevieve says:

    1. Her boobs look amazing in that red dress!
    2. Anyone who admits to being a feminist, I love!

  50. Jocelina says:

    I saw her in the RSC production of King Lear as Cordelia and she was AMAZING. Sir Ian McKellan played the titular role and I think many younger actors (regardless of gender) would have been eclipsed by his greatness, but she wasn’t. In fact, I found her performance just as epic and memorable as his, if not slightly more so – Cordelia is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters.

    And I love to hear that she’s a feminist and not afraid of saying so. I’m going to have to check out her film/TV work now.

  51. Elvynn says:

    I am not a feminist but a womanist! There are too many problem with feminist who doesn’t want to acknowledge intersectionality. I mean for example, as a black woman i can’t do a slut walk where some think women are the n***** of this society when this society doesn’t even recognize me fully as a black AND woman. I mean black woman’s body are already too sexualized (jungle fever, hypersexuality and all this bulls***!)I can’t with women who shame transgender because being a woman doesn’t only mean having a vagina. Which bring many to think feminist really work for white middle class women (see Caitlin Morgan’s issue, Tv show Girls…)! So i am a womanist. Look it up on wikipedia. I don’t care if a woman want to stay at home and raise her kids, be a prostitute or work as anything else. That shouldn’t be my problem because every woman has the right to choose even the right of not being a feminist. By attacking them on this choice, you are shaming them.

    • LAK says:

      being a womanist makes you feminist. Look at the words……

      Having an opinion AS A WOMAN is what makes you a feminist because 100yrs ago today, AS A WOMAN, you would NOT be allowed to have one!!!

      And that’s for starters.

    • Kathryn Word says:

      As a feminist and a women of color, I get your discomfort with the notion that feminism is for white middle class or better women. It is. But it doesn’t have to be. The beauty of the word is that it means, to me, that woman and men accepting women in any form that they show up in. Stay at home mom, sexual aggressive, virginal, right winged, lesbian, whatever. We will just accept you as you are with no judgement.

      As a woman of color, we put too much into the categories. We self marginalized. Why can’t a black man be emo? Why can’t a Native American be movie star? Why must we be limited in our experiences?

      Finally, as a feminist if you prefer the word womanist i support you and hope one day you take back the word feminist and claim it as your own.

      • LAK says:

        i really want to know why as a woman of colour you would say that feminism doesn’t apply or is limited to white middle class women.

        That statement and questions you are asking show a lack of understanding of what Feminism is.

        Being emo will not take away your right to vote or be paid the same as your MALE work colleagues, irrespective of their race,for the same job or even working, being educated etc

        Feminism has never been and neither should it be about race or hobbies.

        edit: and in answer to your question even though it has nought to do with feminism, Taylor Lautner is Native American. There are many black rockstars, if not emos eg Jimmy Hendrix, Slash, Lenny Kravitz.

  52. Loulou says:

    Thanks for this post!

    Romola is awesome! I’ve liked her and her work for years – I’ve even watched the sad Dirty Dancing prequel for her.

    But one of her best roles is in the movie I Capture The Castle – a funny & sweet coming-of-age story. Also stars a pre-Superman Henry Cavill and Henry Thomas from E.T.

  53. Mew says:

    In my view, women have far more history than 100 years. I can see a lot of people in my life agreeing with that and they are not “buildin burning feminists.”

    I don’t need to be feminist to believe and strive for equal rights. I don’t also think that feminism has “dirty word” feeling to it because of sovinists, but simply because some women who shout out being feminists go just as much overboard and make it dirty themselves.

    Obviously we need to work for equal rights, education, freedom for anyone. And that means, for anyone.

    Women for example often get shorter jail sentences – I believe women should have equally long jail sentences as men who do the same crime.

    That’s true equaty and true equaty is the only beautiful thing.

    • LAK says:

      Equal rights is a stage further than the earlier, first intention of Feminism.

      The history of women was always about women’s progress and lives INSPITE OF the lack of rights or freedom to access or enjoy any rights at all. eg In China, there was/is a secret language of women, by women and spoken, occasionally written for Women’s eyes ONLY. And yet CHina is also the country that didn’t advocate women’s rights for a very long time, advocated things like lily pads etc.

      That secret language enabled women to communicate and advise each other on things they couldn’t discuss with their menfolk because men didn’t value them as human beings. And it’s really pitiful when you read the translations because most of it is about how to get around their constricted lives.

      Feminism came out of the need for women to be open about their rights AS HUMAN BEINGS. To stop the subjugation of women. Some cultures are advanced in that ideology, just as others are still several stages behind.

      Right now in the west, we are fighting for equal rights in the work place because we have obtained other earlier rights.

      Other countries are still at earlier stages of Feminsm where they are fighting to education or even the vote.

      More countries are still at the very basic stage of feminism where they are fighting to be heard as humans and not to be constricted so that they have to devise secret means of communication.

      That’s what gets lost in translation when people reject the idea of feminism because if this movement didn’t exist, we’d still be locked indoors not able to achieve a thing because the men didn’t think we could or even had the intelligence to do such a thing or even give us the opportunity to do so.

      • Loira says:

        Sadly, a big part of these supression of women’s rights comes from religion and culture/upbringig, different religions have the same view that women should be a certain way, dress a certain way, etc. Many times it means that women should be at home, dress conservatively (even to extremes) and not pursue certain studies or jobs.
        Even worse is that many times women say they follow these indications because they are “their choice”, and teach their male and female children these same machist views. I wonder how much are those their true choices and how much are they product of their brainwashed upbringing?

        I am no atheist at all, but I come from a family that values education and where the females in the family (most of them) chose and worked to study and improve their children’s oportunities.
        A rich woman I know studied and worked, and when she had children she quit to raise her children herself, not with nannies, but that was her choice and she has enough money to do that. It is a thin line, but I hate excuses for machist attitudes promoted by women. Culture or a dumb attitude?

  54. irene harvey says:

    wow.i am so proud of the many intelligent feminist posts here. feminism, which simply means equal rights for women, is for ALL women. it cuts across race & class. & we are far from meeting our goal in this world.

    oh yeah, & slutting it up for men (& who else would it be for?) is just sad. sexual power is NOT power. strippers & hookers are not running the world. they have simply internalized their oppression.

    so, ladies,keep your dignity, your clothes on & keep fighting the good fight for us all.

  55. cc says:

    She’s fantastic in The Hour!

    This reminds me a little bit of that story about the time Emma Thompson called the producers up to say that Haley Altwell did not have to drop weight for a role.

  56. ShugAveryPee says:

    The reason Feminism has had such a different feeling now is because you having women literally trying to be men and doing everything men do .. instead of embracing the differences of the sexist … Of course women want equal pay and want all rights.. but I love my bra and i love wearing make up and heels and feeling like a girl… where as alot feminist are totally against the makeup.. heel wearing.. bra thing.. I know women like that .. they are the grown up town boys and alot of women do not associate with that therefore they assume they are not for the women’s movement. I for one love the differences in Men and Women and do not think we are equal but that doe snot mean Men are above or smarter or whatever.. it just means the Lord created us for different purposes … or nature created us ( for all you humanist) .. so sure i can change my own oil filter or even a flat tire.. but if there is a man around then let him do it … my nails are drying LOL

  57. ShugAveryPee says:

    The reason Feminism has had such a different feeling now is because you having women literally trying to be men and doing everything men do .. instead of embracing the differences of the sexist … Of course women want equal pay and want all rights.. but I love my bra and i love wearing make up and heels and feeling like a girl… where as alot feminist are totally against the makeup.. heel wearing.. bra thing.. I know women like that .. they are the grown up town boys and alot of women do not associate with that therefore they assume they are not for the women’s movement. I for one love the differences in Men and Women and do not think we are equal but that doe snot mean Men are above or smarter or whatever.. it just means the Lord created us for different purposes … or nature created us ( for all you humanist) .. so sure i can change my own oil filter or even a flat tire.. but if there is a man around then let him do it … my nails are drying LOL !!!

    • MT says:

      I’m not sure if you’re being serious, but I’m betting you are.

      Why not just own your power instead of all of the “damsel in distress” manipulation?

      Most of the women I know who use the “I’m too girly to get my hands dirty” routine get what they want from men (in the short term), but they don’t get respect.

      I find that women who are anti-feminist, tend to be disrespectful of men. They get what they want by manipulation and passive aggression, and that, to me, shows a lack of respect.

  58. Loira says:

    I love this post about Romona. What a difference with the Michelle Duggar one.

  59. Elvie says:

    Love her. Fantastic in The Hour.

  60. LittleDeadGirl says:

    Her comments were very thoughtful and I largely agree with them but at the same time I’m honestly sick and tired of hearing actresses talk about their weight and airbrushing and whatever. Everyone knows it happens and the more you harp on it the more damage it does. I want to hear a woman in the industry talk about her WORK. How are we supposed to be viewed as more than our bodies if that’s all we talk about?

  61. Marilu says:

    This woman really substantiates the “all feminists are ugly” claims.