Ellen Page: ‘We still live in a patriarchal world [where] feminism is a bad word’

Ellen Page

Ellen Page sat down with the Guardian to promote The East, but she barely talks about the movie at all, which is slightly amusing, but I’m sure producers weren’t thrilled with that move. The journalist makes note that Obama’s administration had just announced that Plan B (i.e., the morning-after pill) would be available without a prescription immediately prior to the interview, and Ellen was really, really stoked about the announcement. Perhaps that’s why the entire interview ended up shifting gears to a discussion of women’s rights, and Ellen is not at all shy about declaring her feminist colors. This is a rather refreshing stance compared to that of several of today’s “role models,” including Beyonce (who says feminism can be “extreme) and Katy Perry (who who publicly denounced feminism). Here’s what Ellen had to say about being a female in contemporary society:

Ellen Page

“Feminism” is not a dirty word: “I think if you’re not from America you read this stuff and you’re like, ‘What?’ But I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?” she asks in her quiet voice that belies the firm opinions it is often expressing. “Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement — good. It should be. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don’t disagree with it.”

The journo brings up The East: “Why do you want me to do movie promotion stuff when we can talk about radical feminist Shulamith Firestone instead?”

She seeks out tough, independent women characters “Yeah absolutely. Also if I played those other kinds of roles I would just die a slow death. But yes, I think it’s really important, but it can be hard. Only 23% of speaking roles in films today are for women. It feels we’ve gone backwards.” Partly in response to this, she has started writing her own script “which is definitely feminist — definitely. But of course, if you just write a script in which the woman has control over her destiny and love isn’t the main thing in the film, that’s seen as super feminist. It’s hard to get stuff made, especially if it’s about women. Everything’s about in-ter-nat-ion-al bank-a-bility.”

Does sexism exist in Hollywood? “Oh my God, yeah! It’s constant! It’s how you’re treated, it’s how you’re looked at, how you’re expected to look in a photoshoot, it’s how you’re expected to shut up and not have an opinion, it’s how you … If you’re a girl and you don’t fit the very specific vision of what a girl should be, which is always from a man’s perspective, then you’re a little bit at a loss.”

She loves jeans and t-shirts: “There are moments when you are, um, encouraged to dress a certain way. But I can’t. It just erodes my soul,” she says with a nervous laugh. “That’s no criticism to girls who can wear a tiny dress and kill it – that’s awesome. People always attribute being a feminist to hating girls being sexual, and that’s not it at all. I’m just not into it.”

On those gay rumors: Page responded to the gossip in characteristically unabashed style, neither confirming nor denying it but rather mocking it on Saturday Night Live in 2009. (In the skit, Page is accused of being “a primo lesbian”: “Gay, no way!” Page cries, rolling around on the floor with her legs in the air. “Why does everything have a freaking label? Why can’t I just hug a woman with my legs in friendship?”) “It will sound like I’m making this up but I don’t think I even thought about it at the time. I just thought the skit was funny. All of that gossip is silly — people caring about [celebrities' personal lives] — I just don’t get it.”

On environmental activism: “I’ve really gone back and forth and thought: ‘OK, do you become a really intense activist, whether it’s civil disobedience or monkey wrenching or whatever? Or do you live in the infrastructure and navigate it as best as possible?’ I don’t know what the answer is. Right now I am trying to make movies because I love it, and I think telling stories is meaningful. Um, but maybe it’s not and maybe that’s just an excuse for my selfishness.”

[From Guardian]

Obviously, Ellen is very passionate about feminism, and she’s even recently been talking up the need for feminist pr0n. I also like her attitude about the gay rumors that have plagued her for several years. That particular type of gossip is silly (unlike most other forms of gossip!). Some people actually pointed towards that “SNL” episode as some sort of evidence that Ellen is gay, which is ridiculous because she was totally making fun of her image. Who knows if she’s gay? It doesn’t matter at all.

The journo also makes mention of how Ellen uncomfortably refers to Alexander Skarsgard as her “um, male friend” at one point during the interview. That’s all she says about him though! Too bad.

Ellen Page

Ellen Page

Photos courtesy of WENN

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135 Responses to “Ellen Page: ‘We still live in a patriarchal world [where] feminism is a bad word’”

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  1. Sankay says:

    I like Ellen Page and I hope she gets her movie made. I’d love to see it.

  2. Spooks says:

    I officially love her now.

    • Meaghan says:

      Me too! She’s a Canadian celeb I’m proud of, maybe she cancels out bieber?

      She seems so down to earth, intellegent, friendly. Not hung up on herself and the celebrity life style. I bet thats why she is such good friends with Alex, they seem to both be good people.

    • Andrea says:

      If I didn’t love her before I love her now.

      She speaks the truth.

  3. siobhan says:

    Wow a female celebrity who isn’t against feminism! This just makes me love Ellen. I am still disgusted by beyonce and katy perry’s comments on feminism. They both need to sit down and stfu if they don’t believe in equality. Let women who understand what feminism is do the talking.

    • Faye says:

      So only women who espouse certain beliefs should have their voices heard? What an inclusive, welcoming, feminist perspective.

      • siobhan says:

        Feminism is about equality if you don’t think you should be equal why talk. When women denounce feminism they are saying they don’t want to be equal to men so why shouldn’t those women who don’t want to be equal be quite. This is how they would be treated if feminism never happened.

      • dahlia says:

        meh, I’m more cynical. I think it’s less about beliefs and more about their job descriptions as pop stars, where their image is meant to be nonthreatening and cater to male fantasy.

      • blaize says:

        I agree with Siobhan. I’m not talking about Beyoncé or Katy Perry though. I’m talking about female anti-feminists, who are truly against feminism because they’re too busy kissing the ass of the conservative patriarchy. Those women are basically self-hating hypocrites because while they attack feminism, they’re reaping the benefits of feminism in their own lives- like the right to vote, their career opportunities, education, and birth control.

        I don’t think Beyoncé or Katy Perry actually hate feminism though. I think they- like many women and girls- haven’t bothered to really research feminism, and because of that, they might have fallen for some of the stereotypes about feminists. They might believe that to be a feminist, a woman has to reject things like men, marriage, childbirth, make-up, shaving, and certain types of clothing. You’d be surprised how many people believe those stereotypes.

      • Hakura says:

        @dahlia – You make a very good point, regarding a lot of what celebrities/entertainers say. They use their names, appearances, fashion, lifestyle, everything carefully crafted for the sake of PR & their bottom line.

        Why would it be so hard to accept that the opinions they’re allowed to express about ‘themselves’ wouldn’t be just as carefully & meticulously crafted for the sake of image?

      • suewp says:

        I think what I take offense at is the implication that being a feminist and loving your husband are two things that cannot co-exist. I am a heterosexual woman who is also a feminist and who also (one day) wants to be a mother. I love men and babies AT THE SAME TIME that I love my rights as a human being and love my ability to speak my mind.

        When I get married and pop out oodles of babies, I will love my role as a wife and mother, but I will also keep saying very loudly that I am a feminist. My husband is also going to have to be a feminist and I am going to raise my children as feminists. Being family-oriented and “feminine” are not the polar opposite of being a feminist.

    • mabooski says:

      cherry picking quotes from Beyonce doesnt make for a very strong argument. Beyonce has made many statement that are considered feminist but of COURSE they are not what everyone focuses on. What about the ignorant comment of ‘feminists’ who suggest beyonce cant be feminist because she named her tour ‘Mrs Carter’? i’d claim they were less feminist than Beyonce.

      • Tapioca says:

        I’m not sure that it’s so much that she called her tour after her married name, so much that she called her tour after a legendary misogynist!

        Plus, y’know, she built her career on stealing other people’s work and taking her clothes off, which doesn’t exactly scream “girl power”.

      • mabooski says:

        legendary misogynist? gurl bye!

      • blaize says:

        @Tapioca: “…taking her clothes off, which doesn’t exactly scream ‘girl power’.”

        That one depends on the person’s motives for doing it.

        I didn’t know about Jay-Z being a misogynist though. Probably because I don’t know much about him and don’t listen to his music. I’ll have to look it up.

    • Nalgene says:

      I really had no problem with Beyonces statement which honestly was worlds apart from Katys and Swiftys. She was, in her inarticulate fashion, saying that there are segments within the movement that are quite extreme in her view and that those segments have been taken to represent the whole movement. She then went on to state that she loves her husband, loves being married and enjoys motherhood. She also believes in female empowerment.

      It seems clear to me that she was contrasting her views with say the Toni Morrison school of thought. The brand of thinking that believes motherhood to be confining and marriage an irredeemable bastion of partriarchy. Irredeemable being the key word. Many, I think would agree that thats a fairly militant approach.

      • Bbb1975 says:

        Thank you for this, I agree.

      • blaize says:

        Agreed! As long as a woman chooses her marriage, she’s not marrying out of desperation for money, there’s no kind of abuse in the marriage, and she’s not pushed into a submissive role toward her husband, then her marriage is not a ‘bastion of patriarchy.’ The same goes for child-bearing- the woman needs to be able to choose if, when, and how often she will have a baby.

      • Pirouette says:

        Ha! Toni Morrison is not at all a radical feminist, but in conservative America she seems perfectly insane to identify the downsides to motherhood and marriage. But oh, how I love her.

    • Joanna says:

      Amen sister! I love Ellen Page for her ‘brave’ statement. Brave because she is of few females in Hollywood who will ‘dare’ call themselves feminists-such a dirty word! I am assuming that these other actresses and female singers are just high end prostitutes that’s why they aren’t feminists like Ellen.

      • blaize says:

        I totally agree with most of your comment, but isn’t it slightly anti-feminist to use the term ‘prostitute’ to denigrate other women?

        I believe that the real reason why women in Hollywood won’t own the title of feminists is because they- like a lot of other people- haven’t taken the time to research feminism for themselves, so they’ve probably fallen for some of the negative stereotypes about being a feminist. Before I started reading feminist blogs and books 6 years ago (when I was 15) I believed a few ignorant things about it too. I’m still learning more about it.

    • Joanna says:

      Amen sister! I love Ellen Page for her ‘brave’ statement. Brave because she is of few females in Hollywood who will ‘dare’ call themselves feminists-such a dirty word! I am assuming that these other actresses and female singers are just high end prostitutes that’s why they aren’t

      • Kitten Mittens says:

        And let the pile on begin!

        Racism is a different topic of an extreme nature. To say Sarah thinks racism is gone just because she thinks Feminism as a word and thought is misused today is an easy way for a argument to end. No one wants to side with racism so they won’t side with Sarah’s feminist view because you’ve crudely drawn a direct line linking them. Good Lord!

        Ms. Page does seem to be using the term to paint herself as a forward thinker when she is just churning out the same mindset many have before her. It’s lip service at best to possibly promote her film.

        Women should be allowed to make INDIVIDUAL decisions. They should have the right to stay in the kitchen if that’s what they want. Feminism is a word that is commonly used to attack women that choose that “submissive lifestye”. It’s now a label that can be used in a very negative manner and has lost much of its meaning.

        So, to use feminism to bring down another woman’s personal views is not the proper use or mindset. Or should we just stone the fellow female that thinks out of line to our thoughts, but isn’t forcing her beliefs on us like we are to her…
        Post as you like. I’m done with this thread.

    • Side-Eye says:

      Congratulations, siohban, you’ve won the award for most obnoxious comment of the day, and it’s only 8:20 in the morning where I am.
      You realize that feminism isn’t the end-all be-all for gender equality, right? You have heard of movements such as egalitarianism and humanism right, that focus on both sides of the spectrum? You realize that as someone who’s supposedly for gender equality, that you can’t look down on someone’s CHOICE not to be associated with a movement? You’ve heard of opinions right?

      I’m disillusioned with today’s particular brand of feminism, and one of the reasons is people like you–those who think they can judge and look down on or dictate to other women how they should think or behave. Get over yourself. You don’t get to control who speaks just because they disagree with you.

      • Bbb1975 says:

        I agree with you. I get tired of being labeled “not feminist enough” because I choose to be a stay at home mom.
        It’s not one size fits all, I am all about empowerment and equality for everyone.

      • siobhan says:

        Feminism is about equality and women’s rights to make choices for themselves. I support a women’s right to be a stay at home mom if that is their choice than I think that’s great. The one thing I don’t support is a woman’s right to belittle the movement that has given the rights that they enjoy today. If you are not willing to give up your rights don’t speak against the movement that secured them. Women are often not treated as equals in this society so feminism is still very much needed.

    • Side-Eye says:

      Thank you, Sarah, you said it much better than I could’ve and way more polite.

    • Raquel says:

      Come to think about it, she IS one of the few female celebs of her generation who didn’t get famous by boarding the chauvinism express and buying tickets all the way to the top, isn’t she?

      I’m just disappointed that I haven’t seen more of her, lately.

      • Bijlee says:

        Because she didn’t sexualized herself? Is that what you mean? Either way I think the girl was extremely lucky. She’s not the greatest of actors and was once touted as the new it girl a la JLaw.

      • blaize says:

        Being a feminist does not require a person to be anti-nudity; you can still be a feminist and do pretty much whatever you want with clothing and physical appearance. The most important thing is your MOTIVE for those things. The men in Hollywood who have gone topless, in their underwear, or nude aren’t ‘riding the misandry express to the top’, are they?

        But I’m definitely proud of her for publicly embracing feminism. We all know certain people in our society are going to rip her apart for being a feminist, but who cares about them.

    • FLORC says:

      Thank You!
      The word feminism now seems almost like a way to portray yourself as edgy or a rebel. If anything i’ve seen the word used more as a way to attack women for not acting like how you want them to act.
      Ellen is nothing special. Watching her act never pulled me in to the story. I was never lost in her performance and always aware I was watching someone try to act…

    • bluhare says:

      I understand Siobhan’s point. Replace the word “feminism” with “racism” and then what do you think?

      The point is the same.

    • teena says:

      err, used to? I think just seeing the sort of political measures taken against women and their bodies in the last couple months shows why feminism is still relevant today. I don’t understand why people think it’s antiquated concept that has no use today.

    • bettyrose says:

      Siobhan – I absolutely agree with you, and from the looks of things here someone needs to say it. I have multiple graduate degrees and one of the men I supervise at work (with fewer degrees than I have) makes more than me. Again, I’m his supervisor and he makes more than I do. So *spare* me that feminism is just about having a victim-complex. Feminism is about equal pay, access to equal health care options, equal freedom to attend parties, walk the streets alone, and live without fear of violence and intimidation from male strangers.

      Yes, women should have the right to choose to be stay at home mothers, but in the U.S. that’s a privilege afforded to you only by marital status because you and your children need a financial provider and group healthcare plan. It is **feminists** who fight for equal access to healthcare and quality early childhood education for all mothers and children, regardless of marital status.

    • madchen says:

      Feminism is still about equality. It’s about families. It’s about women’s reproductive rights. It’s about finding justice for women in a world where in many countries marriages are arranged for girls before they reach puberty and a woman can be murdered by a male family member for dishonoring her father – which can be something as benign as saying she wants to attend school. Feminism is good for men and women. There would be no Family Leave Act if not for those radical women in the 1960s and 1970s. There would be no equitable custody arrangements in divorces…the list goes on and on. Don’t sell feminism short. It’s a good thing. It moves us forward.

    • blaize says:

      If you want some information on what modern feminism is really about, why don’t you read Manifesto: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future by Jennifer Baumgardner, Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti,and Yes means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti.

    • Runs with Scissors says:

      “Feminism USED to be about equality; now it’s just about misguided angst and persecution complexes”

      Sarah – say the same exact thing about racism and then see how stupid you sound.

      As long as 9 year old girls are shot in the head by men because they’d like the same rights to an education as boys, WE NEED FEMINISM. Not “humanism” FEMINISM.

      I don’t even have the stomach to go into how many women worldwide are raped every day. Persecution complex? Sorry but STFU.

    • siobhan says:

      Feminism is about equality. Anyone who thinks otherwise is buying into a ridiculous way of thinking. Those who have tried to silence and control women came up with the idea that feminism is a dirty word. It’s sad women have bought into the mindset of those that want to oppress them.

    • Jilliterate says:

      Feminism IS about equality. People who say otherwise are either trying to intentionally undermine the movement, or are just parroting things they’ve heard without doing any actual research. The notion that feminism is based on “women > men” came from second-wave feminist radicals, was dropped in the early 1980s, and wasn’t even taken seriously then. The fact that people still believe otherwise, and use it as a reason to still deny women their equality, is painful, and in my opinion, intentionally malicious. Andrea Dworkin doesn’t represent all of us, you know.

    • Malificent says:

      Feminism is still about equality. However, the term got appropriated and made into a negative by those who were threatened by the concept. And unfortunately, there were feminists who helped that appropriation along by focusing on inane details or fitting the “man-hating” stereotype. Extreme views in any belief system get all the press. The vast majority of civil, moderate views in those systems never make it on the news.

      If being a feminist means that I believe that I have equal value to a man. Then sign me on. And if it means that ALL people should have the right and opportunity to choose the life that is happiest and most productive for them as individuals, then sign me on a again.

  4. dahlia says:

    god, I love this girl for being smart and articulate Bey and KP can kiss my ass with their faux brand of girl power that doesn’t even include the possibility of gender equality. Grow a pair of ovaries, ladies.

  5. Dawn says:

    Ditto to what everyone else is saying. It is very refreshing to hear her speak her mind. It must be hard to try and fit the mold in Hollywood. Good for her.

  6. Maria says:

    She’s a smart woman and her roles are on point; I’m glad to see her owning her feminism and talking honestly about Hollywood and the double standard women deal with.

    She’ll have a long career ahead, I refuse to believe anything less.

  7. minime says:

    Always liked her, always will. Hope she continues that interesting and genuine.

  8. LadyL says:

    Insipid, assuming and intolerant.

  9. hadleyb says:

    I can’t stand this girl. Her voice, the way she speaks is so irritating, I can’t watch any more of her movies.

    She acts the same in all of them. She can’t be any different, her mannerisms are the same in every single movie. She is like Jen A of movies, the same person in every single one. Herself. YAWN.

    Yeah it’s great she is going against the hollywood mold of sexy, and all the I don’t do dresses or vamp it up like every other woman and more be more like Jodi Foster but she will never be Jodi. Jodi could act.

  10. c'est la vie says:

    I love what she said. Eloquently done.
    And I liked the fact that she brought up that only 23% of speaking roles in Hollywood were for women. Talk about a great imbalance. So women are represented about 1/5 of the time onscreen.

    It’s about time for a change…

  11. Sixer says:

    Good on her. You only have to look at the Bechdel test to see how sexist H’wood still is. TV seems less so, though?

    • apsutter says:

      Yup…pretty much all the great, dynamic roles for women are on television. And Hollywood spends so much time wondering why movies have been on a downward spiral. Maybe it’s because they blatantly ignore half of their damn audience.

  12. Thora says:

    Good on her. I’m a feminist too but working in Hollywood and spruiking about feminism is like working in an abattoir and espousing the virtues of vegetarianism.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I don’t know, sounds like she’s trying to change it from within — and certainly seems like she has a good perspective on her participation

  13. marie says:

    I don’t know, nor do I care if she’s gay I just think she’s fantastic. I like all she has to say here, feminism is definitely not a dirty word.

  14. Lucy2 says:

    I like her. She’s intelligent and opinionated, and confident in both. I also like that she sticks to her guns about her privacy and image- I’d imagine in that business it’s much easier to give in and do what people tell you, so I admire her ability to be who she wants.

  15. Maria says:

    im for equality, meaning im a humanist. feminism is something different, its mainly for privileged middle aged white women who want to distribute jobs among their own while attacking the same thing when it comes to their male equivalents.

    feminism obviously only focuses on women and you can see today how heavily boys in school are disadvantaged because of that, almost all homeless persons are male etc and nothing is done to cure that. thats not equality. humanism is to have everyone equal, regardless of their gender, race, age, class etc.

    oh and why do feminist fight against birth control pills for men? things like that make people sick of feminism, not the idea of equality.

    • Erinn says:

      I think you should go and research feminism some more. There is not one blanket form of feminism. There are branches. Not all feminism is about being better than men. Nor is all feminism about a bunch of white women sitting around trying to get their friends jobs.

      • NM9005 says:

        And this is why it’s hard for me to call myself a feminist. Just like with religion, there too many different streams. If I want to attach myself to a political or religious belief, I’d like to think we have one defined belief we are fighting for. I’m not fighting for opinions because that’s too chaotic and it causes problems. I’ve been in classes where there are so-called feminist (adults!) banging on women, girls for being raped. They don’t have a clue.

        Too often we have this (online) feminism of women hailing certain body types or dismissing pageants or condemning feminist who like to stay at home. Those are NOT the issues, as long as it’s choice, it’s fine. They’re advocating against women instead of occupying themselves with things that matter. Things that women DO NOT have a choice in.

        And the truth can even be found here where one women will be condemned for the same actions another one is forgiven for. Not because of the actions, but on the basis of ‘do we like her?’. It’s horrible.

        If feminism can’t be basic equality, respect for EVERY women and NO JUDGEMENT of choice, then no I would rather not call myself feminist.

        Furthermore, POC did have a hard time finding their way into feminism and they STILL had to create a niche for themselves. So thanks feminism. Like I said, there’s also a thing called ‘personal interests’ and that is a big boundary for external societal interests. The latter should top the former but often people push their own agenda and become selfish and hypocrite.

        I love liberal feminism, I do pick out information that seems relevant and I study the history but I’m opposed to radical feminism. Page is not radical, she might be passionate but she’s not radical. It shows in the way she respects women who dress more ‘girly’ but she isn’t judging. It’s just not her. She gets it. She’s great.
        Radicals are against pageants and such. They even ‘decide’ to become lesbians. Not here for that.

        Unless people finally decide wtf feminism is and start ACTING accordingly, you will always have women who don’t have a clue about the meaning of feminism, let alone belief and attach themselves to it.

      • LAK says:

        NM90005 – I don’t understand your ideas about feminism in terms of what you expect Feminism to be.

        It is about equality and freedom for women to govern themselves . End of. The commonsensical approach should have been that once this truth was acknowledged, all areas would automatically be changed and society moved along accordingly.

        However, women have had to fight for every single little step because if an area is unchallenged, then it’s a loophole that retains the old attitudes/traditions.

        There is also the fact that countries around the world started their feminist fight at different times, so they are all at different stages of the fight.

        And it is being put through the prism of different cultures around the world meaning it’s fracturing into different acceptance rather than original basic truth of it.

        Consequently, whilst it is only one thing, it has become a kaleidoscope depending on stage of the fight, culture and religious interpretations.

        And like all ideas, extremism exists because of the different interpretation by different groups, but it doesn’t necessarily make those ideas wrong, look at Al Quaida/Westboro vs other muslims/christians.

        And sometimes, depending on the idea, extremism is needed to get the point across.

        The early feminists were strident harridans who brooked no opposition to their ideas, were uncompromising, BUT their stand allowed for the truth to be acknowledged. Men (and surprisingly other women) weren’t listening. And even when we finally had the vote, it wasn’t an automatic open door policy across society. Women had to and still have to fight every little achievement so women in later decades can have the luxury of choice.

        Malala in Pakistan is fighting to have an education, her detractors call her anti-feminine( as well as other things) for wanting an education instead of what they’ve deemed women should do ie be home makers. Her fight will allow other girls to become educated or stay home if they choose. The point will have been won and women will have that choice in her area as they do not right now.

        Your rejection of feminism on the basis of disagreement of someone else’s interpretation makes you no different from the people who reject your interpretation of it.

      • Lee says:

        @NM90005 – Ok, you make some valid and necessary points, but this one phrase made me uncomfortable: “Radicals are against pageants and such. They even ‘decide’ to become lesbians. Not here for that.” You seem to be painting all radicals with the same brush, and considering Ellen herself seems to be stating that she identifies with radical feminists, and you are saying you agree with and appreciate her views, that seems unfair. And as a queer woman myself, I’m really off-put by your tone and implications in that particular sentence.

        Anyways, I think it’s important to be aware of how feminism has changed since the 1970s. First and Second wave feminism were definitely problematic. And the third-wave has it’s issues too, but to my mind, the biggest change in third-wave feminism is the recognition that each woman should have the right to self-determination and if she freely chooses to be a stay-at-home mom or to wear a hijab or work in porn or anything else, she should have every right to do so the same way any woman should have the right to work in male-dominated fields with equal pay or walk down the street without fear for her safety. I completely agree with your points on this matter, I just happen to think that modern feminism allows for and appreciates a diversity in personal choices in spite of the personal views some of your classmates may have espoused.

        As for how WOC fit in, you are completely right. Feminism has long had a problematic relationship with race issues and while I think modern feminists are attempting to reach out and be more aware of the differences in experience and the intersectionality of gender and race (as well as class and sexuality and gender identity, but those are for another paragraph/day), the movement as a whole is not there yet. A huge problem in feminism, as far as I’m concerned, is inaccessibility. If someone doesn’t understand or appreciate the language of radical feminists or unintentionally disrespects certain tenants, they should not be made to feel unwelcome. Groups I have frequented tend to pride themselves on creating a “safe space”, but that space needs to be safe for EVERYONE, including those who are less-versed in the “culture”. It is so important that we don’t invalidate the experiences or opinions of marginalized groups within the feminist movement. And I think these types of conversations and the continued involvement of WOC (as well as queer women and trans* women) will go a long way in helping to improve the movement as a whole.

        I think it’s fair that you mentioned that the vastness of feminism is off-putting to you since you end up having to pick and choose what you agree with and what applies to you. It would be lovely if we had a more concise goal. But I think the reality is that the oppression women face is multi-faceted and different groups are affected differently. I also think it’s relevant that when ~51% of the population identifies as female, there are going to be a lot of varying opinions and interests the same way there are some liberals or democrats I disagree with even if I’m almost certainly going to vote that way in an election. To me though, that doesn’t mean the whole movement should be ignored or thrown out, just that there is a lot more bridge building that needs to be done.

        wow. this was long. Sorry! As a last note, anyone who has actually bothered to read this and who is interested should definitely check out Gena Davis’ institute on gender in media. She’s kind of amazing.

    • Kate says:

      Oh yeah, the poor men.
      They are so restricted by the society with all the laws against insurance paid viagra or less payment than women or the rape culture…/sarcasm

      • Side-Eye says:

        Have you looked at how society treats male victims of rape, especially those who’ve been victimized by a woman either sexually or physically? Yeah, I’d say they’re victims of rape culture too. To act as if only women have problems is absurd and obnoxious.

      • Runs with Scissors says:

        what’s absurd and obnoxious is to pretend that men are raped by women in anything approaching the numbers of women raped by men and MEN raped by other MEN.

        Rape is wrong, no matter who the victim is, but let’s not pretend that it’s OVERWHELMINGLY MEN who are the perpetrators.

      • CC says:

        Women are more likely to be guilty of statutory rape than forced (not talking about the legal ability for a minor to give consent, talking about actual physical, forced intercourse)

        Now, statutory rape where men are the guilty party can and does happen, but the vast majority is forcing intercourse on another man or woman.

    • Faye-D says:

      I am a feminist I also come from a working class background in the UK. Feminisim is about equal rights its about being able to have equal rights to men which we do not have. Rape culture and slut shaming are everywhere. And on the subject of jobs men are paid 10 to 15% more than women in the exact same job however there are only a handful of jobs women are paid more one of them including porn let alone bringing race into it! We live in a society were politicans in the US believe that believe “In a legitimite rape” a woman can’t get pregnant? This is not ok! However that does not mean as a woman I can’t support certain male rights by saying you should be a humanist instead of a femenist is to ignore the struggles that women go through 1 in 3 women have either been raped, sexually abused or assulted how is this ok? 1 in 20 men do not know the basic rules of consent! Women through the centuries have been treated as second class citezens although things are better than they were 100 years ago we are still not equal when I can walk down a street without being honked at or have men shout at me from there cars or even walk down a dark alley without the fear of being assulted then yeah maybe then I’ll be a humanist. (Sorry about all the typos dyslexia really does undermine an arguement)

      • Vickyb says:

        Well said Faye-D!

        Absolutely right that there is still a global need for feminism. Women are still oppressed, including but not exclusive to white, middle-class women.

        Feminism, for most of us, is about equality. It drives me crazy when (particularly girl-) friends say… ‘I’m an equalist, not a feminist’. Well, I want equality so I’m a feminist. And the reason we need feminism is because women are still routinely treated in a less acceptable way to the way men are treated. In this country (UK), in other developed countries (USA) and in less developed countries women are routinely oppressed, repressed and suppressed. And as long as there are white middle class men making judgments on how ALL women should use their vaginas, I think you should be pretty grateful for the white middle-class women who are standing up for women’s rights.

        When feminism becomes a dirty word, and even women buy into it, then you really know that the patriachy is still in charge, and you really know that feminism is still totally relevant and necessary.

        Thank goodness for a young feminist voice in Hollywood.

      • Dal says:

        Well said!

      • blaize says:

        Amen, Faye-D and Vicky B!

        You’re definitely right about the prevalence of slut-shaming in our society. It’s still socially accepted. Sometimes you’ll even see it in the comment sections of this exact site- and you’ll see commenters defending slut-shaming as well. People don’t realize how bigoted and misogynistic it is, it’s connection to a patriarchy that demonizes the female body and female sexuality, or it’s connection to rape culture.

    • L says:

      I’m just going to leave this here. It’s a good article. I’d recommend part 4 for the ‘feminism obviously only focuses on women’ nonsense.


      “Unfortunately, the reason that “fem” is a part of the word “feminism” is that the world is not, currently, an equal, safe, and just place for women (and other groups as well—in its idealized form, intersectional feminism seeks to correct all those imbalances). To remove the gendered implications of the term is to deny that those imbalances exist, and you can’t make problems disappear just by changing “feminism” to “humanism” and declaring the world healed. That won’t work.”

    • ncboudicca says:

      While it’s true that men make up the greatest percentage of “single” homeless people, I think if you review the data, you’ll see that all genders and ages are (sadly) equally represented. 39% of the homeless population is under age 18. 39%!! http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/who.html

    • Cazzie says:

      Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

    • Side-Eye says:

      I agree completely with you, Maria! This is why I’m egalitarian as well. Feminism always says that’s it’s working for males, but it really isn’t and has in the past even hindered the same kinds of rights for men in certain areas. I don’t have a problem with feminism being a mostly women’s movement, but when they say they’re working on men too, I have to roll my eyes.

      @NM9005 Completely cosign everything you said, kudos.

      • Lee says:

        I’d be really curious to know where/when/how feminism has hindered rights of men.

        The reality is that men suffer from the unequal treatment of women too and they would also benefit from an equal society. When feminine characteristics are denounced, men are prevented from exploring any interest in habits or items that are deemed “girly”, they are forced to operate in a macho society that may not be comfortable to them and they are looked down upon for being stay-at-home dads or for working in female dominated fields like nursing. These particular male oppressions are still rooted in misogyny and would be greatly improved by the success of feminist principles.

      • Bbb1975 says:

        @nm9005 agree! You said it much much better then I ever could, thank you!

      • bettyrose says:

        “Feminism always says that’s it’s working for males, but it really isn’t and has in the past even hindered the same kinds of rights for men in certain areas.”

        Well, someone forgot to tell this to my male life partner, who has gleefully pursued a career in the arts because he doesn’t need to be the primary breadwinner; enjoyed the benefits of spending his single years in a time period when women were confident, assertive, and sexually adventurous (and eventually settled down with one such woman); and enjoys the social benefits of not having to be a beer drinking, football watching stereotype to prove his manliness.

        Okay, now I am officially overposting in this thread but I am stunned at some of the comments I’m seeing today.

    • Jenn says:

      I’m not against birth control pills for men, but I’m not trusting the person who can’t remember where his socks are, or to put another roll of t.p. on the dispenser to take a pill that will keep me from getting pregnant. I’m the one that’s gotta carry the kid, not him. They can have the pill, but I’m taking care of myself.

      • bettyrose says:

        “They can have the pill, but I’m taking care of myself.”

        This exactly. No one is advocating for men’s birth control to replace women’s. In a committed relationship two people can make that decision, but in the world of casual sex, men should have a backup option for their own peace of mind.

      • CC says:

        For me is more “take any pill you want, but you’ll still be wearing a condom”.

        That, of course, unless the goal is to have kids, but neither will be fooled about that, and of course dumping any that lie about it just to go bareback but while still on a pill.

    • bettyrose says:

      Maria – The fact that you blame women for boys failing in school just shows how much more work feminism has to do in our society.

      And, I’m sorry, feminists have a problem with men having birth control pills? In a culture where male politicians are constantly challenging women’s access to reproductive health care, you’re harping on what I can only assume is one women you talked to once who had something weird to say about men and birth control?

      Well, take it from this feminist, feminism absolutely supports men having access to whatever birth control options give them control over their sexuality and the right to plan when they become parents. We also support EQUAL educational opportunities for boys and job opportunities for men. And we absolutely oppose sexual assaults against men and boys. Feminists are mothers, sisters, daughters, and lovers, and we care about the welfare of boys and men.

      • Runs with Scissors says:

        @BettyRose, completely agree!
        Some of these comments are INCREDIBLE male propaganda. Well said.

    • Isabelle says:

      hahaha, thats all.

  16. mabooski says:

    In the wise words of tumblr user fendelaguerre:

    “y r yt women so obsessed w/ making sure woc embrace feminism but not equally obsessed w/ making sure feminism embraces woc”

    I really will never understand why some women are SO VERY DESPERATE to negate Beyonce’s feminist credentials. Like, forreal. But everyone insist on d-riding for the RACIST lump of potato mash that is Lena Dunham. UGH.

    Like, because she shakes her big booty on stage and wears revealing costumes she cant be feminist (these are comment i see here ALL the time)? FOREEAL? the slut-shaming i see boggles the mind, ESPECIALLY as most of the people doing so would argue that what a woman wears does not determine her value. a January 2013 r Hadley Freeman blasts the singer for posing in the February issue of GQ “nearly naked in seven photos” but ignores that IN THE VERY SAME MAGAZINE
    Beyoncé makes several statements about gender inequity. like what the hell?

    beyonce had a all female band because she wanted to give girls female musician role models, she constantly states the importance of a woman knowing herself and being about her business before being in a relationship, and but you she named her tour the mrs carter show, so she cant REALLY be feminist right? GTFOH.

    intersectionality is real and NECESSARY. and a bunch of y’all could do with learning a bit about it.

  17. Micki says:

    1. Wonderful that she’s unafraid to agree with 70′s feminists.
    2. Shulamith Firestone sounded like name dropping though, I can’t say why.
    3.Dress code- girl you make me laugh. You have a product to sell. You dress for your buyers. It’s not as if she can’t wear casual clothes the rest of the time.
    4. Don’t care whether she’s gay or not.
    5.I liked her frankness while talking inveronmental issues

  18. tracking says:

    It’s refreshing to read a thoughtful, articulate piece by a young feminist celebrity. I understand the term can be offputting and it’s now trendy to identify as a humanist instead (a la Susan Sarandon), but the terms need not be mutually exclusive. Women’s rights, as with other civil rights, still has a long way to go.

  19. Miss M says:

    I never thought about myself being a feminist, but some American expressions really make my blood boil: children born of wedlock, shotgun wedding, etc…

    I hear those phrases all the time form women who consider themselves feminists/liberals… argh!

    • Liz says:

      Are you from an 1800s Western?

    • MorganM says:

      Yes, sometimes people use phrases that I consider antiquated or somewhat offensive, but you know what I do? I grow a backbone and get over it.

      • Miss M says:

        @MorganM: That’s what I’ve been doing lately. But It’s surprising and annoying to hear them in the 21st century.

        For the other question someone asked me. I live in Boston and I am not the one using those offensive and antiquated phrases as MorganM put it so well.

  20. Falula says:

    Girl crushing hard after this interview.

  21. JennJ says:

    Good for her — hope she continues to have a voice.

  22. Mel says:

    I think she came across as obnoxious and rude. She is paid to act and that involves selling your movie. To just ignore a question. to name drop is nothing but rude and pretentious. 23% not 22% or 24%….I hate when people drop numbers without any evidence. Again…. It’s very pretentious. I think she is a great actress but she needs to get over herself. I just did one massive eyeroll reading this interview.

  23. Jayna says:

    She’s right about roles for women. When I watch the old black-and-white movies or movies in Meryl’s heyday, there were a lot of movies driven by lead strong female roles. Think Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, etc. And Meryl Streep, when she was younger, had standout movie roles that drove a movie. Sophie’s Choice, etc.

    Nowdays not so much and hasn’t been for a while except here or there. What is happening?

    • Jennifer12 says:

      What is happening is that we are buying into the Spice Girls version of feminism. It’s a fake girl power, where women are still subjugate to whatever male fantasy is happening, or whatever they deem reasonably girl powerish but doesn’t go overboard into real feminism. It’s like being a mall punk: record companies think Avril Lavigne is punk because they approve this little, cute white chick that seems off the beaten path but bears their stamp of approval and knows not to go too far. Feminism sounds like Ellen Page, but it’s not studio approved, so you won’t see much of her or strong roles for females.

      • Liz says:

        Amen. I just read an interview with Tina Fey from Ladies Home Journal where she said Feminism’s become so twisted that making money selling your own sex tape is now seen as a feminist act.

      • lucy2 says:

        “It’s a fake girl power”

        I recently saw the most appalling illustration of this. (Credit to Natalie on Pajiba for linking it there on a post about Goldieblox toys.)
        It’s supposed to be a video to get girls interested in science – which apparently means mini skirts, heels, make-up, nail polish, flirting and catching the eye of a guy actually doing work, and giggling. You know. Science.

        I have a family member who was a researcher at NIH, and several friends who are in science fields. None of them dance around a lab in heels, I guarantee.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Thank you for the phrase “fake girl power” :) I have for some time tried to find a concise way to get across the idea that your phrase does perfectly!

      • Jennifer12 says:

        Yes, it’s like wanting to get Legos for my daughter, but they’re supposed to be pink and purple because heaven forbid a girl want to do something besides play with dolls. If a girl wants to build, she should build a hair salon, and it damn well better be pink.

      • YDavis says:

        I recommend Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter for a horrifying look at the idea of this fake girl power at work in Britain.



      • blaize says:

        There are valid reasons why a woman inside or outside of Hollywood can feel empowered by nudity, revealing clothes, and of course sex, considering how badly women have been treated on a global scale for thousands of years- and this treatment still happens today, all over the world. A woman should not be dismissed for feeling sexually liberated or empowered by such things. Trust me- not everything that’s labeled a ‘male fantasy’ is exclusively a male fantasy.

        But I agree that the feminism we see from Hollywood stars is too limited today. I’m all for sexual freedom, but that’s not all there is to feminism, and I’m glad she’s focusing on another part of it than that.

      • cocomama419 says:

        @Blaize. I couldn’t have said it any better.

        I feel that most woman that define themselves as feminist suffer from some warped Madonna/Whore complex. On one side they judge you for being sexuality librated and empowered. The other side is they calling you a prude for not embracing the “power” of your vagina (someone has literally said that to me!).Isn’t one of the points of feminism is that you can define who you are as a woman and as a human being without the limitations and preconceived notions of patriarchal society.

        That’s why I hate when scrolling through these comment all I see is “high-end prostitute” “wearing revealing clothes is not very ‘girl power” and other nonsense like that. Bashing someone for owning their sexuality is just as wrong as the people that group all feminist as bra burning,man-hating lesbians.

    • MorganM says:

      There are plenty of roles for older actresses, but its not the roles they want. Many actresses in their 40s still want to play the younger roles; when they don’t get it, they cry “not fair”. But many of these same actresses made their careers solely on their looks, not their talent. They have no real acting talent to sustain their career as their looks fade. Meg Ryan is no Susan Sarandon. Meg Ryan got into films because she was cute, had blue eyes, blond hair and dimples. Is it any wonder her career is washed up now?

      • Jennifer12 says:

        Yes and no. The roles tend to be for much older women or for the sexpot roles. There aren’t a lot of interesting roles and many of them seem aimed toward a certain demographic.

      • apsutter says:

        The problem is that once women get into their 30′s the only roles offered are supporting ones where they are pushed into the background. Excuse them for not wanting to play “the mother” in every single movie they appear in. The age discrepancies in Hollywood are f*cking ridiculous and disheartening. Actors in their 40′s and 50′s always have love interests that are 22 so where does that leave ladies who are their peers? They get tossed out because they’re too old.

  24. Jennifer12 says:

    I like that she’s a real feminist, unlike other stars who have a Hollywood sanctioned view of feminism. “Being naked in a film gives ME the power!” “I don’t believe that there’s any sexism in Hollywood- if you’re strong enough, you can do anything!” And I like that she’s proud of her views, and doesn’t run away from questions that may lessen her appeal to a certain audience.

  25. Leah says:

    I like her she is a few years older than me and as a young woman i have to say its nice to see an actress in hollywood under the age of 50 that isnt afraid of the word feminism.

  26. InvaderTak says:

    I’m in Texas, and I have never had to get an RX for Plan B. Where do you need one?

    Yes, that’s what I took away from this article. I really don’t care about internet feminism today. I like Ellen though.

    • Bbb1975 says:

      That caught my eye too, I even double checked the date this article was written. We don’t need a prescription for Plan B in PA either.

    • anne o'neame says:

      Should be clarified that the administration approved the removal of age-restriction. Prescription was required for 17 and younger.

      • InvaderTak says:

        Thank you. That makes a big difference. My only experiences with it have been after I was 18. Still have to get it from a pharmacy, and it isn’t cheap by my part-time job, college drop out standards. What’s being done about that? Woman raise such a stink about the cost of birth control and who should pay for it, but has anyone asked what BC really costs? It costs so much because that’s what women/insurance/whoever will pay for it. Just like anything marketed to women. Lets stop trying to defer the cost and demand a fair market price. It’s way too common and there are too many options for it to really cost that much to manufacture. (at least in the US)

  27. Sumodo1 says:

    Ellen Paige is not name dropping when she refers to Shulamith Firestone, a leading Canadian author and feminist. Page is from Nova Scotia.

  28. Swann says:

    So great to read what she said – she’s a person, speaking from her heart. I don’t think there is anyone who seriously believes gender equality has been reached. I live out in Cambridge, UK and outside of London, people are mighty sexist. I always get the feeling when I am trying to converse with a man that they are slightly confused because someone with breasts is not just offering to bring him a beverage and is insisting on engaging him with ideas. It’s worth looking at in your own life, I think, so I’m glad for this post.

  29. Sisi says:

    I like that she talks about feminism with no aggression, or drama.

    That’s imo the biggest prejudice when it comes to feminism: it’s a bunch of angry shouting women who make making a scene out of themselves.

    she’s the opposite here, even sounds lighthearted and casual about it. By talking like this she suverts the image of the agressive feminist, which can’t hurt.

    would’ve liked to also hear about the movie though

    • Pirouette says:

      Yeah, god forbid women be angry or aggressive. That’s only for men, right?

      • Runs with Scissors says:

        god, seriously. We have to whisper and meekly ask for people to listen and we must be light-hearted and smiley and inviting at all times.

  30. I Choose Me says:

    Officially a fan.

  31. Jenn says:

    My grandmother and mother were both very strong willed and independent. I’ve never felt there was anything I couldn’t do because I’m a woman due to their awesome influence. Feminism to me is independence, self reliance, and being equal to but not greater than men.

    Ellen Page is young, exuberant, and smart. She wants to change the world for the better. Hopefully she will. I like her.

  32. Jess says:

    Good for Ellen! I love her!

  33. Kelly says:

    She’s awesome!!

  34. pnichols says:

    She is rad! Freakin love her!

  35. Greenieweenie says:

    Honestly, she’s like this because she’s from Halifax, or really, she’s just Canadian. I really feel that the national culture supports this self-empowerment narrative more than in the US….related to multiculturalism, too, whereas in the US there is assimilation. I was raised in Canada but left as a teenager and have lived in many countries since and whenever I encounter another Canadian woman, it’s like a meeting of the minds. My American inlaws, however, OMG. Different story. Different story altogether.

  36. Maddy says:

    First time I’ve ever commented on this site – I love her so much, especially as someone who isn’t afraid to be ‘feminist’ in a world where apparently that’s super extreme and apparently unnecessary

  37. Mich says:

    I clicked on this story yesterday and had to leave because my blood started to boil. Reading today, I’m thrilled to see so many smart women speaking up and out.

    Rock on ladies! We face a tough road reclaiming our rights (and in some places just earning them to begin with) and I’m honored to be in the fight with you!!

  38. chloe says:

    thank God this site finally featured her…
    this made my day

  39. flipflop says:

    Good for her. She is young, and smart and strong.

    Women do need to stick up for other women. If they don’t, who is going to do it?

  40. Norman says:

    Feminism in our society still presents a negative connotation because it is frequently associated in the common view of Americans with ugly chicks, bra burning, care free abortions, total opposition to nudity and male bashing. I think much of feminism is not about bra burning and male hating its about equal pay for the same work, dignity for girls and women, respect, reproductive rights and extirpate gender stereotypes in society. I like what Ellen Page says and I stand by her.