Keira Knightley Says Feminism Isn't a "Dirty Word," Talks Male Dominated Hollywood
Keira Knightley captured our hearts in Love Actually way back in 2003, but ten years later she's still got us, especially with her declarations about feminism in UK's Harper's Bazaar and how it is not an insult to be called a feminist. In the magazine's interview, Knightley got straight to the point saying, "I think it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, 'Oh, f***ing shut up.' Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that."
It's great that celebrities like Knightley continue to keep feminism in the public eye, because If we keep talking about it, people will have to change the discourse around it eventually, right? The more high-profile the people, the larger an audience they reach, and Knightley bringing the issue of feminism to that large scale is awesome.
Author Caitlin Moran has agreed saying, “We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women––I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies?"
So Knightley is doing her part in keeping the word in the public forum, but she's not just talking about how it's important, she's talking about how it's important to change how feminism the term is used. But it's not something she's always paid attention to. Starting out in the business, Knightley admits she was "worrying about a boyfriend and shit" but over time realized why the industry was always so male-dominated. "I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn’t get back probably until nine o’clock at night. Most of the guys that I talk to – and I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about it – they say 'My wife does everything.' You think, 'Why wasn’t I thinking about this five years ago?'"
But she's thinking about it now, and more so, talking about it. "Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between," she says. Noting that directors play a large hand in the change of the industry she also pondered heading in that direction to have more of an influence. "As I get older I get more interested by it … there is a lot of 'You do what you’re told' [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, 'I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.' I don’t know if there is, but I’m interested in seeing people who have done it."
We hope Knightley, whether in front or behind the camera, continues to engage in this dialogue about feminism because like Roseanne Barr said, "The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it." Fortunately it seems like Knightley is learning that lesson and is eager to share it with others.