There's definitely been some type of cultural shift within the last few years. Feminism, which was once one of the most taboo movements to talk about is now extremely profitable for young stars. From Taylor Swift and her #squad to adorable activists like Matt Mcgorry, there's nothing the world loves more right now than a "woke bae". Unfortunately, since there are no rules to who can call themselves a feminist (or who decides what a "good feminist" looks like), there leaves a lot of room for debate and interpretation. And, of course, one debate we can't seem to get away from is sex.
Now, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. At all.
Sex and Hollywood go hand in hand. Everything about this industry thrives off sex. Sex fills pockets, opens doors, and builds careers. Sadly, sex is still very controversial. As a result, the same question is always getting asked: Can sex be feminist? And can sexy women be feminists? Most people will say yes. But they won't really mean it.
Singer. Songwriter. Badass. Pink's been kicking butt and taking names since the early 2000s. She's also extremely vocal about the pressure to conform and "fit in" with more...liberated artists. In other words: It was hard as hell for Pink to become a star since she wasn't trying to sell sex. And she never lets us forget that. Ever.
Don't get me wrong. I love Pink. Like I said before, the girl kicks butt. Her music is amazing and I don't doubt for a second that she wants to be a good role model for girls. For the most part, I feel like she's succeeded. But I can't help but notice that her specific brand of feminism is just a little too conditional.
The year is 2006. Pink releases "Stupid Girls" and the world loses their shit. Her music video throws major shade at Jessica Simpson, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, eating disorders, video hoes, and the overall "LA Lifestyle". On the surface, the video might seem like it's just Pink poking fun at some of her peers, similiar to some of Eminem's earlier videos. But that wasn't all Pink was doing. She wasn't just poking fun, she was making a statement. She was telling you what type of woman you have to be in order for her to respect you. Hell, the video even shows a young girl trying to decide between playing with a barbie doll or football. By the end of the video, the girl chooses the football, leaving the "evil" version of Pink disappointed. Like...seriously?
Look, I get it. I'm sure the entertainment industry is harder than any of us regular peasants will ever know. It must've been difficult for Pink to stick to her guns and refuse to do things that were past her comfort zone. There are definitely conversations to be had about Hollywood's obsession with sex, more specifically sexy women. However, there's a huge difference between letting girls know that they're more than their bodies, and shitting on anyone who doesn't express their sexuality in a way that you find acceptable.
The "Stupid Girls" video wasn't Pink's first offense, either. Or her last.
Pink is always making it clear that she doesn't she "need" sex to be successful. Despite her own nude photo shoots and racy outfits, Pink insists that she's different than "other" girls. In May 2016, Pink released one of the smuggest, sanctimonious tweets in response to a nude selfie Kim Kardashian posted.
Fans were quick to point out her hypocrisy, but Pink never addressed it.
This lack of self-awareness isn't exclusive to Pink, though. The faulty logic is used all the time for slut shaming or just shaming women in general.
"That girl's a whore because she has sex. I also have sex, but I love the guys, so it's different."
Or in Pink's case...
"Those girls are worthless because they get naked. I also get naked, but I don't need to, so it's different."
I think the judgement and girl-on-girl hate we see is just another result of internalized misogyny. The world doesn't respect female sexuality, but has absolutely no problem exploiting it. Women are in constant competition so criticizing each other only makes sense. And this new wave of "women empowerment" only makes it easier.
Before, women shaming other women stayed at a basic level. It was just a mean and immature thing that girls did. Today, the shame has more merit. The criticism went from "that girl is bad" to "that girl is bad for ALL girls." This illusion of validity is dangerous. It's taken everyday degradation and turned it feminist. Now, women don't shame other women because they hate them. They shame other women because it's their duty.
P!nk may have been one of the first "conditional feminists", but she sure as hell wasn't the last.
Beyonce's feminism isn't real because she "twerks in leotards". Chloe Grace Moretz thinks there's a difference between slut shaming and "setting goals for young women". Gabrielle Union is afraid to follow Amber Rose on Instagram because "that's not the type of girl she should support it" . This is what happens when "girl power" becomes cool before actually valuing women does. Stars are jumping on the feminist bandwagon without dealing with baggage they left behind.
There can be no liberation for women without sexual liberation. We have to stay critical of our favorite celebrities and even their activism. Question why is it that girls like Amber Rose and Kim Kardashian are considered "bad for the movement" when they represent the ultimate goal: freedom. Freedom to choose promiscuity over modesty. Freedom to make controversial decisions and still be respected. The freedom to have sex, lots of sex, and still be awesome. Or better yet, empowering.