kirsten dunst may cover of harper's bazaar

Yikes. Kirsten Dunst looks beyond gorgeous on the May cover of Harper’s Bazaar, but part of her interview with the magazine is kind of, well, messed up. When asked for her feelings about gender and relationships, the actress started off with a positive message… and then it quickly unravelled, crashed, burned, and exploded. She told the magazine,

I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued. We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking– it’s a valuable thing my mom created. And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor. I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s how relationships work.

Oh dear. Okay.

First of all, I totally agree with her original point about femininity getting a bad rap. Feminism should strive to allow people to make their own choices about their family roles, and if a woman can afford to stay home full-time and play the part of the traditional mother– and that’s what she wants for her life– she should be able to do that, free of judgment. It’s sexist and sad that our culture looks down on femininity to the point that women feel like they’re not allowed to be full-time wives and mothers without losing other people’s respect. I’m totally with Kirsten on that one. Unfortunately, the rest of her quote is a pile of problematic bullshit.

Not only is it quite possible to have a happy, healthy, working relationship without the presence of a man and a woman, but it’s equally possible for straight couples to get along just fine without buying into traditional gender roles. Plenty of hetero couples reverse the old roles and have a woman breadwinner and a man caregiver, and plenty others choose to split both roles down the middle. Relationships don’t have to be a certain way to “work,” and when you use your public platform to preach old-school values as absolute law, you’re making it harder for people outside the traditional norm to live their lives in peace. This quote is straight-up hypocritical, too, since we all know that Kirsten works a time-consuming job, and I doubt she’d be satisfied to get manicures and stir spaghetti all day.

There’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting a knight in shining armor if that’s what you choose for your life, but it’s really dumb to try to prescribe your personal taste to everyone everywhere. It’s really easy to say “this is what I want” without saying “this is what all humans should do.”

Via Harper’s Bazaar