In an interview with The Guardian, celebrity actress Ellen Page discusses the role that feminism plays in our culture: “I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists…but how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?…Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don’t disagree with it.” (See http://www.care2.com/causes/6-celebrities-who-arent-afraid-to-call-themselves-feminists.html). Page seems to be one of the few celebrities (male or female) willing to identify themselves with being feminist, a word which has become associated with an endless list of negative stereotypes. That’s why we often hear people making the familiar claim that “I’m no feminist, but…” In “Girls Gone Anti-Feminist,” Susan Douglas claims that many of the so-called “feminist” icons we see in pop culture today do not really represent the feminist movement but instead “are little more than fantasies of power.”
Students: What are some examples of REAL feminist icons in pop culture today? (They could be real people, or fantasy characters, and you are not restricted to providing American examples!). Or, on the other hand, what are some examples of icons who merely SEEM to be feminist but are really a product of what Douglas calls “enlightened sexism”? Why do you think feminism has become such a bad word in today’s society? Try to offer a sound rationale for your opinion.