When Did Feminism Become Trendy?

Defined by the Oxford dictionary, a feminist is ‘a person who supports the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men’, and is a sweeping political movement taking place all over the world. Women from every corner of the globe are demanding equal rights in all aspects of life, whether that be economically, socially, sexually or politically – the demand for equality is very much present in today’s social climate.

Alongside this, the growing movement of women’s empowerment continues to be a huge theme in society, with musicians, writers and actresses alike continuously referencing the importance of female empowerment in their work. Fashion companies have also acknowledged the rise of feminism, with lingerie companies like Lounge Lingerie launching campaigns like their most recent #MyBoobsMyBody to promote body confidence and advocate for more diversity in advertisement campaigns.

The demand for more diversity in advertisements has led to many results, and more and more companies are becoming much more likely to use a much more diverse range of models in their fashion advertisements and promotions – which is a good thing, right?

“Hollywood could be taking advantage of this movement”

The appreciation for all types of women continues to grow, but it is important to recognise Hollywood as a key factor of this. We all love a trip to the cinema to watch the most recent romcom or blockbuster, and admittedly, I find nothing more empowering than seeing women on my screen playing powerful roles unapologetically.

However, as this rise of feminism as a mainstream political movement continues to grow, is it important to remember that Hollywood could be taking advantage of this movement, only opting for ‘all female’ casts due to the high probability that the movie itself will make high levels of profit during this political climate? Like all things, the answer is both yes and no.

It is a highly frustrating fact that the film industry and Hollywood are very aware of the profit all female cast films can create. Although it may seem like some films, such as the recently remade Oceans 8 and Ghostbusters with all female casts, are providing female characters of diversity, it is also important to take a pessimistic perspective once in a while, and question whether the commodification of a very important political movement is really in the best interest of women.

“Is feminism really something big businesses should be making money from when women are facing discrimination and inequalities every day?”

Is feminism really something big businesses should be making money from when women are facing discrimination and inequalities every day? The rise of social equality has become increasingly commodified for all, and the consumption of feminism can be frustrating for the movement, but the more conversations that happen, the more likely change on a global scale will take place.

Seeing women on our TV screens at face value is something we should be praising. For us to live in a world where actresses like Emma Watson and Olivia Coleman can talk and advocate for the rights of women, whilst also creating films we all love is something admirable. The growing representation of women on our screens is something to celebrate too. It is important for us to take a pessimistic view once in a while and question the true motivations behind ‘female empowered’ films, but it is also important to recognise that this is the first time that young girls have the representation of women of all races, ages and abilities on their TV screens and have the ability to identify with a woman who isn’t a family-orientated mother or a damsel in distress.

Jess Smith

Featured image courtesy of Chatham House via Flickr. No changes made to this image. Image license found here

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