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Keira Knightley Confronts Fear of “Feminism”

There are heroes in Hollywood who take a hit for speaking out. There aren’t many of them. There aren’t enough of them but those who do are helping others to feel more comfortable. The dangerous movement of actresses who distant themselves from the word “feminist” makes women feel continual shame for standing up for what really can be defined as equal rights. I understand why some of them do this – some don’t like the label, some don’t want to be thought of as militant, some have misinterpreted the word for being a man-hater or wanting to take over power from men, to remove men from their dominance in film or whatever. The complaints against some kind of activism is valid – just because someone calls themselves a feminist does not mean they have to agree with everyone’s definition of it. Its baseline, though, is important: women standing up for women.

Hey, if there wasn’t a problem we could all STFU but across the board women have been getting the shaft since the word feminism was mostly deflated of its power. Count Keira Knightley on the team of heroes when she spoke out plainly and directly on the problem on Style.com:

“Where are the female stories? Where are they? Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that? So yes, I think the pay is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard. I don’t know what happened through the ’80s,’90s, and ’00s that took feminism off the table, that made it something that women weren’t supposed to identify with and were supposed to be ashamed of. Feminism is about the fight for equality between the sexes, with equal respect, equal pay, and equal opportunity. At the moment we are still a long way off that.”

The answer does not lie with the bottom line, as we’ve proved with our analysis on box office data for the past 20 years. In fact, women are a very reliable demographic. It’s really not about the ticket buyers – it’s about the voices that control the chatter and what their preferences are. It’s about how industry voters are leaning in that direction too. It’s about a systematic weakening of what defines a woman in film. Its roots are deep and pulling them up is going to be painful.

The more women talk about it the better. As Jane Fonda says, Hollywood must be shamed into it. The only way that’s going to happen is if women stop being the “cool girls” for fear of alienating he who possesses the golden spear.

Keira Knightley is more than capable of having whole films built around her that are more than just princess stories or bodice rippers. Hopefully there will be brave people out there who will give her that chance.

Hat tip Indiewire