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My Issues with Red Carpet Feminism

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By Gemma Garner
Trigger Warning
Just a pre-warning: this is is going to sound ungrateful, and even petty to some. I know that we all universally adore the likes of Tina Fey, Emma Watson and Lena Dunham. Honestly? We can’t really help it. They’re everywhere, always sporting their ‘world’s favourite feminist’ and ‘funny-and-approachable’ badges. Emma Watson? Yeah, she’s a COOL feminist. She works alongside men, unlike the rest of them. Tina Fey? Man, that chick is FUNNY. Lena Dunham? God, she’s so quirky. Remember that one time she molested her little sister and wrote about it in her book? Then expected everybody to forgive her? Because she’s a ‘good’ feminist? Pretty funny.

Now if I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Don’t get me wrong; these women are beyond incredible and strong for standing up and reclaiming feminism in a male dominated industry. It just seems they’ve only reclaimed it for women like them. Most of the time, it can feel like they’ve all been raised to believe there are only 3 kinds of people in the world. White cis women, straight men, and white gay men.
What makes it worse, is it seems they all have to support each other. No. Matter. What. Even sideline ‘i-dont-shout-about-it’ feminists like Taylor Swift have to support them. When Tay-Tay (who is wonderful, by the way, it’s a shame she actively supports problematic people) became a feminist, I was SO tired of seeing the headlines. It was like, BREAKING NEWS, TAYLOR SWIFT HAS COME FORWARD TO SAY; ‘I LIKE FEMINISM NOW, I GUESS I’M A FEMINIST! I COULD HAVE SWORN IT WAS ABOUT BRA BURNING MAN HATERS BECAUSE OF ALL THOSE OTHER, UNFUNNY, DULL FEMINISTS, BUT THANKS TO LENA DUNHAM, I SEE THAT IT’S NOT. YAY WHITE FEMINISM’. It’s like there’s this huge, underground, glamorous, red carpet feminism alliance, where every member has to agree to laugh at each others’ jokes and ignore any kind of problematic behaviour. And at the end of the day, it’s ok, because they’re all BEST FRIENDS! How great is that? Girls… girls that are friends!!!
All I’m asking is that, when we see praise for these opinions, we take it with a pinch of salt. Before you repost that quote about feminism from Tina Fey, ready to type ‘she is the QUEEN!’, remember that glorifying some of their examples of feminism can actually be pretty problematic. Their feminism can be, and is, sometimes flawed. We forget that these women have had to adjust their feminism in a way that makes it accessible to a mainstream audience; this feminism has been primped in a way that often excludes trans women and women of colour, and in some cases, makes it about men. We’re being spoon fed watered down feminism in a way that makes us forget that people are only listening to these women because the media has deemed them funny or beautiful enough to be listened to. We need to bear this in mind and remember; these women have to keep their feminism looking just as beautiful as those on the red carpet.

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