By Nicole Mae
You’ve probably seen “Feminism: the radical notion that women are people” t-shirts thrown across your Facebook timeline and on people walking down the street; however, there is a lot more to this belief system than what can fit on a piece of clothing. Even more so, true feminists would encourage you to broaden your terminology in order to be more inclusive, thus we have intersectional feminism: this includes other forms of discrimination based on sexuality, class, and ability, just to name a few.
You have also probably heard all the controversy that surrounds Taylor Swift and Kim K. For years I have been a dedicated Swift fan and very recently have become a defender of all things Jenner/Kardashian; however, there are flaws with both of these powerful women that need to be discussed: their views on feminism and equality.
Many of you may know that Kim wrote an essay about a year ago that dictated that she would not identify herself as a feminist but still strongly supports women and equality regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race (now take a look back at what I just defined as feminism for you). What could her reasoning behind not identifying with an entire, powerful, necessary movement be? She claims that it is a “personal choice” because she doesn’t like the idea of being labeled. This is not a foreign concept as some people try to misconstrue labels as being negative, as a way to create separation between people.
The mindset behind celebrities and people in power not wanting to identify with labels is an excessive display of their privilege. To refuse to admit to a label just due to personal comfort is refusing to support an entire collection of underrepresented minorities and a whole social movement that supports and defends a lot of decisions that you (Kim K) have made. More specifically, proudly labeling yourself as a feminist can be very directly linked to making a political statement and being the activist example that a social media personality can be.
This very similarly can be compared to Miley Cyrus exiting the hip-hop world and claiming that she was “growing” as a person and what happened was just a phase in her life. She momentarily entered a world that wasn’t her own, experienced it, and then left it behind along with those who were supporting her through what many were criticizing her for. Twerking, tongue-out, weed smoking Miley had a lot of backup that she lost during her most recent musical transitional phase.
On the other side of the Kim K feud is Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift who, in 2014, claimed to realize that she had a feminist stance on everything but has refused to label herself as such, now identifies as a feminist. This is considered problematic because we don’t see this being portrayed in Taylor’s day-to-day life. She doesn’t have female producers, her “squad” consists of tall, beautiful, young models, and she doesn’t comment against Trump-rhetoric. But does not being a political activist make her a bad feminist? In short, yes. When you label yourself as a feminist you are taking a political stance in which you do fight against the oppressor.
Desmond Tutu once said that “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This pertains directly to Taylor. When you are, at one point in your life, considered “America’s Sweetheart” then you are going to consistently remain in the public’s eye. This gives you one of the greatest platforms in the country. With over 102 million followers on her Instagram profile, there was never one post made about any of the atrocities that have occurred with our most recent presidential election.
While I will always say that celebrities should not be held to higher expectations just due to their platform, I believe that if you take a political stance and state that you are a feminist or hold some sort of belief system, then you are responsible to meet expectations of that belief system. Feminist stand for political activism for equality, it’s just that simple.
Therefore, in this battle, Kim K and Tay-Swizzle both lose.
That being said…I’m stoked for Reputation and to see what happens with the Kardashian/Jenner empire.