When it comes to identifying with feminism, I guess we can’t all follow the jump-in-headfirst Beyoncé method. Remember last week, when Lily Allen made some really twisted statements about not being “an archetypal woman” and not believing in the existence of gender inequality? She’s backtracking now, and her recent interview with The Debrief is making me feel a little guilty for writing her off so quickly.
When asked about her controversial, anti-woman statements, Lily claimed that she was horribly misquoted. When she said that feminism “shouldn’t even be a thing anymore,” she apparently meant to highlight how depressing it is that we still haven’t reached gender equality in 2014. Lily tells The Debrief,
Of course I’m a feminist. … I know that I get talked to in label meetings and by executives like a woman. It’s demoralizing and sneering, and we apparently don’t have an opinion. It’s done in a way to make you feel ashamed, whether they know they’re doing it or not. There are women in the room in those meetings, and no one says, ‘Don’t talk to her like that.’ That’s the only way I feel like it’s going to change, when people start saying, ‘You can’t fucking do that!’
Yeah, we agree. That’s why we had to deconstruct the subtle racism in Lily’s “Hard Out Here” video, and that’s why we had to call her out for her hateful comments about thin women’s bodies. If nobody says anything, nothing’s going to change.
I have more sympathy for Lily after reading this new interview. The first one made it seem like she was just completely oblivious to what feminism is and that she was dismissing the entire idea of it. This one makes it clear that she understands that sexism is still alive and well, but she just hasn’t developed her opinions about it enough to stop blaming other women for the effects of patriarchy.
It’s totally understandable why someone– especially someone famous, for whom it’s much safer to steer clear of controversial topics– would be hesitant to identify with a word that they think means “girls vs boys.” We’ve seen tons of powerful women reject the F-word: Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s disappointing, especially because none of these ladies would have careers without the movement, but it’s not that surprising. Feminism has the unfair reputation of being an exclusive club of angry, difficult white women who’ve decided to blame men for every problem in the world, and sometimes that results in people like Lily Allen biting back and trying to spread the blame to women, too. It’s hard to explain in a quick and concise way that feminism wants to tear down societal structures that hurt everyone, and that most of us don’t think the solution is to set fire to anything with a penis.
I’m not going to forget Lily’s awful comments about how disgusting thin women’s bodies are, but I’m willing to let her off the hook a little bit for the other misguided quotes. I’m hoping the criticism she’s received lately will inspire her (and other hesitant future feminists) to look deeper into the issues that we keep yapping on about.
Via The Debrief / Photo: Getty images