Tag Archives: Malala

2013: The Year of the Feminist

2014. New year, new goals, resolutions, and a fresh start. For a lot of us it’s a time to think about what lies ahead and to consider what we would like to accomplish. But it’s also a time to look back and to – hopefully – see how far we’ve come.
In an interview with Barbara Walters Lawrence asked,  “if
we’re regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words,
because of the effect they have on our younger generation,
 why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?”

From a woman’s standpoint, there’s no doubt in my mind that this year was a pretty great one for feminism. From the glorious Jennifer Lawrence speaking out against her pressure to diet to the release of GoldieBlox, an engineering toy created for young girls, 2013 had a lot of feminist moments. I think back to last year when Katy Perry announced – in her Woman of the Year acceptance speech at the Women in Music awards – that she is “not a feminist”, but she “does believe in the strength of women”. Kelly Clarkson set us back 40 years when she said “I think when people hear feminist it’s like, ‘Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone,” and caused millions of heads to bang to the table.

Zooey Deschanel in her hit series, New Girl. She also is the
co-fonder of the Women’s Blog, Hello Giggles

This year though, feminism has become kind of trendy. Hail to Lena Dunham, creator of the TV show Girls, who – despite her controversy – has brought feminism into the mainstream media discussion.  And to Beyoncé who proudly proclaimed that she is a modern day feminist. And to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey kicking butt at the Emmys. I don’t think that the importance of the advocacy of these celebrities can be understated. I remember not too long ago reading a MacLean’s article where a 15 year old girl’s response to feminism was “Ewww, yuck.” I remember writing a blog about redefining feminism, and the challenge of making feminism “cool” for the younger generation. These celebrities are getting through in ways that parents and teachers can’t. Jennifer Lawrence recognizes the influence her role as Katniss in the Hunger Games has on young women. She was adamant that she would not lose weight for the role; “I think that our industry doesn’t take enough responsibility for what it does to our society, about having these unrealistic expectations, and I don’t want to be part of that.” This smart, gorgeous, Academy Award winning actress is a fabulous advocate for women’s body issues.

“There was a time when women social activists asked 
men to stand up for their rights, but this time we will do it by ourselves.”

If 2013 saw a rise in celebrity feminists, it also gave us one of the most powerful female voices of this generation, Malala Yousafzai. Her UN speech last year left the world in awe of her wisdom and her bravery. Malala’s fight is not one that any one in the Western world could relate to. But, she has the remarkable ability to inspire woman of all ages to fight for what we deserve. One can’t help but think if this young woman can stand up to the Taliban, what can’t we do?  

I know that internationally and at home there is a lot of work to be done. But I also know that it can be detrimental and sometimes even unhelpful to dwell on negativity. If we don’t take stock to reflect on success, no matter how small, how can we expect to carry on? I look forward in 2014 to seeing what great things Malala will accomplish and what other strange and awesome things Jennifer Lawrence will come up with next. What laws might be changed, what movements may start… A Jezebel post found that 42 percent of women under 30 call themselves feminists – the highest percentage of any age group, and I think that’s pretty great.