Actress Shailene Woodley is once more in the news for insisting she does not identify as a feminist, saying that the “label” is too divisive.
In an interview in the new issue of Nylon magazine, Woodley expanded on her earlier comments on feminism: “The reason why I don’t like to say that I am a feminist or I am not a feminist is because to me it’s still a label. I do not want to be defined by one thing. Why do we have to have that label to divide us? We should all be able to embrace one another regardless of our belief system and regardless of the labels that we have put upon ourselves.”
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She also commented on how she had become the subject of media scrutiny for her previous comments on feminism, saying, “I mean, if we spent as much energy focusing on the genocide that’s going on right now in parts of Africa as we spent on that one article, think about what we could accomplish. Change is not going to come from focusing on the small things that actors say.”
Last year, Woodley came under fire from some critics for rejecting the term “feminist” in an interview with TIME magazine. When asked if she considered herself a feminist, Woodley replied: “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50% feminine and 50% masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.”
Woodley’s comments attracted backlash from critics who pointed out that feminism does not mean hating men, or taking power away from men, but is defined as advocating for equality between men and women. Woodley later attempted to clarify her remarks in a subsequent interview with Entertainment Weekly, but still stood by her refusal to identify as feminist. “The thing I was trying to say we need to eliminate – without the word ‘feminist,’ without any word attached to it – we need to begin to evolve the way we look at sisterhood. It’s the exact opposite of what [the article] ended up doing,” Woodley said.
Woodley is not the only celebrity to proclaim she’s not a feminist - she joins other celebrities like Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and Kaley Cuoco who have all told media that they do not consider themselves feminists.