Feminist News Flash: Wage Gaps, Action Stars, and Punk Politics

From print and politics to television and movie screens, feminism is going hard this week. The past few years have seen the feminist identity go from bra-burning man hater vibes to a full-blown mainstream pop culture movement. It’s cool to be down with feminism and Hollywood finally seems to have got the memo. Every week brings more badass feminist moments to pour over and analyze, and today is no exception. Here’s our take on the five biggest feminist moments of the week (thus far).

Jennifer Lawrence Isn’t Here For The Gendered Hollywood Pay Gap

If there is one gif to sum up out feelings about Hollywood's sexism, this is it.
If there is one gif to sum up out feelings about Hollywood’s sexism, this is it.

She’s not ready to make nice anymore. America’s sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence just published a piece in Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, ripping apart Hollywood for not only paying women less than “the lucky people with dicks,” but also forcing women to fall into ‘likeability traps’ that make being nice a vital piece of their image.

“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that,” wrote the Hunger Games star. She credits this need to be likeable with her decision early on in her career to give up on trying to negotiate her pay for films, because she most likely would’ve been labeled as spoiled or difficult. As Nicki Minaj said, “When I’m assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss.”

As Hollywood’s highest paid actress and a white woman with no trouble getting roles, it’s natural to be skeptical about Lawrence speaking out on an issue that overwhelmingly affects people of color of all genders. She gets that, and admitted that she “didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.” We give props to JLaw for writing about the issue and acknowledging her privileged position in Hollywood, and we look forward to the badass woman that’s been hiding behind the nice girl personality she’s finally shedding.

An Action Film Role Written For A Man Just Got Rewritten for Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron just gave major side-eye to gendered notions of action heroes.
Charlize Theron just gave major side-eye to gendered notions of action heroes.

When you’re the actress responsible for making Mad Max: Fury Road the feminist movie event of the summer, Hollywood takes notice. Charlize Theron has been cast in the film adaptation of Mark Greaney’s book The Grey Man, which is about (you guessed it) a man. The story revolves around an ex-CIA operative named Court Gentry who becomes an international assassin on the run. It’s now following in the feminist footsteps of the spy thriller Salt, which cast Angelina Jolie in the titular role, originally written for a man.

Female action stars are a big draw at the box office, but in a genre dominated by James Bond and Jason Bourne, gender-switching lead roles is an incredibly rare move. It’s totally rad to see Theron’s credibility as an action hero bring about some feminist shakeups in Hollywood. We’d love to see more action roles being written for female leads while we wait for NBC to finish the Xena: Warrior Princess reboot.

Playboy Is Removing Naked Women From The Magazine Famous For Naked Women

Playboy's first cover was Marilyn Monroe in 1953. Sixty years later and they're waving goodbye to female nudity.
Playboy’s first cover was Marilyn Monroe in 1953. Sixty years later and they’re waving goodbye to female nudity.

Sexism and Playboy used to go hand-in-hand, but the times they are a changin’. The March 2016 issue of the magazine known for its spreads of women spreading their legs will be the first to be completely free of nudity. The move towards a more PG-13 publication comes from Chief Content Officer Cory Jones, and it’s a direct result of the wide availability of porn on the Internet. I mean, where else can you search “Justin Bieber dick” and have your world changed within seconds? The men’s magazine will still feature women in provocative poses and continue the Playmate of the Month feature, but it’ll go for a vibe that’s “a little more accessible, a little more intimate,” explains Jones.

The new feminist approach to the magazine that your horny grandpa keeps stashed in the garage next to his power tools will include journalism — which Playboy was actually deservedly respected for in the 60s and 70s — long-form interviews and fiction, visual art, and a sex column written by “sex-positive female.” We’re all about sex positivity, but when it’s coming from a magazine empire that still allows female “bunnies” to live in a mansion in exchange for pleasuring 89-year-old Hugh Hefner, we are going to take the news with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Rose McGowan Said Fuck This and ‘Hijacked’ a Political Gala To Talk Diversity

Rose McGowan isn't down to sit pretty while old white men control American politics.
Rose McGowan isn’t down to sit pretty while old white men control American politics.

Have you ever looked at literally any photo or video of a room full of politicians and wondered why it looked like a Wonder Bread convention? Rose McGowan noticed, and is not here for old white men talking about the country’s problems anymore. She recently stood up at a political gala full of Democrats and Republicans (watch it here) and went “punk as fuck” during an impromptu speech. She’s known for advocating for women’s rights but this speech, done in front of a bunch of pale-ass politicians, absolutely slayed.

“(It’s) shocking, and leads me to believe that maybe you don’t actually integrate with my America,” she told the room. “And that breaks my heart because you guys are the ones that are supposed to be brave. And I believe every Republican voted down equal pay for women, right?” Consider the mic officially dropped. In the aftermath of the speech, McGowan has been called out for her “angry” approach, which is exactly the kind of sexist stereotyping that feminism fights against. Politicians are fighting a war against women, and it’s time we all stand together, let our anger out, and vote these crusty old white guys out of office in the next election.

Emilia Clarke Is The Sexiest Woman Alive

We dream of gender equality and badasses like Daenerys Targaryen burning down the patriarchy.
We dream of gender equality and badasses like Daenerys Targaryen burning down the patriarchy.

Speaking about female action heroes would not be complete without a mention of the Mother of Dragons. Despite the gratuitous nudity and unnecessary use of rape as a plot device, Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen has brought a much-needed dose of feminism to Game of Thrones over the past five seasons. She was just named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive, and after watching her kick ass in Game of Thrones and the new Terminator movie you didn’t watch, we are definitely (mostly) here for that.

We do love the idea of someone who portrays strong female characters being recognized for her work, but we’re a bit hesitant to heap praise on an award that honors beauty above talent. It’s rad to see Clarke saving the world from robots and riding dragons, and she is definitely our biggest female warrior girl crush since Xena, but the photoshoot on Esquire of her in lingerie and wrapped nude in a sheet has us questioning how far we’ve come in regards to gender equality in Hollywood. It’s time to pull a Daenerys and unlock the shackles of sexism, burn these beauty contests to the ground with the fire of dragons, and unlock our inner warrior woman.

Imagery via CBS, Mad Max, Playboy, Miyako Bellizziand Game of Thrones.

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