A Letter to Shailene Woodley on the F word

Dear Shailene Woodley,

Could you explain your thoughts of feminism further? Really though, because I identify as a feminist, an active feminist even, and at this point I am confused about your own identification. In your interview with Time, you claimed not to be a feminist, but then said “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 percent feminine and 50 percent 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.”

I am sure you already know that being a feminist and loving men are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, feminism as a concept and mode of thinking is defined by Merriam Webster as such:

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In actuality, feminists love men and women equally, thinking they deserve equal treatment across the board. Granted, some people think women would do a better job of ruling the world than men do; however, this sentiment isn’t at the base of what being a feminist means, and those that believe this notion are not expressing the beliefs of feminism, rather their individual thoughts. Feminists are all about the balance you want Shailene, it just doesn’t exist yet, so we’re still fighting for equality.

Whoever Time hired to interview you should be demoted or given a lesson in follow up questions. Once you said that you think men and women should be equals, the interviewer should have asked, “Isn’t that the definition of feminism? Isn’t gender equality exactly the motivation behind the feminist movement?” So, I fault Time for doing that to you.

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Similarly, I understand not wanting to claim the title of feminist. Society has assigned a negative stigma to the title, so that to be a feminist is to be someone advocating for a “tiered issue.” However, for as long as human beings are treated differently based on their gender–a biological factor assigned at birth–then the issue is still unresolved. Now, Shailene, if you’re not a feminist, that’s fine. But don’t dismiss the title if you actually believe thoughts in line with the feminist majority–not the extremists.

Being a feminist in any regard is something in which you should pride yourself, because it means you value other human beings regardless of biological factors beyond their control. If this sounds like an idea with which you might agree, say it definitively, because we need more feminists in this world.

All my best,
Claire S. Draper

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