IRL wood nymph Shailene Woodley has made some pretty great comments about her sex scene in her newest film, White Bird in a Blizzard. The young actor takes a total turn from her role in the Fault in Our Stars in the new Gregg Araki picture, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It's a thriller based on the novel by Laura Kasischke in which Woodley plays a teenager who, among trying to handle the disappearance of her mother (Eva Green), is figuring out she's a sexual being. Woodley said of the copious sex scenes in White Bird: "I was not fully robed. And our bodies had no makeup. Who needs makeup? I'm only 22. My boobs are great. They don't need any help." Dang, preach.
Her confidence about White Bird is right on par with her body-positive comments in her In Style interview earlier this year when she discussed being able to love her own body: "I’m in a place where I feel healthier than I’ve ever been, and my body is exactly where it wants to be." For a 22-year-old woman (or a 16-year-old girl, or a 40-year-old woman) to be completely at peace with your own body is an almost Herculean feat. When constantly bombarded with ridiculous beauty standards (and for women of color, especially, westernized beauty standards) and impossible expectations, learning to love your body is a process that is often painful and difficult for women, and one that is ongoing, really.
This latest self-loving, body-loving comment in context to White Bird is just another comment from Woodley that seems to directly contradict her original troubling statements about feminism. She told Time that she did not identify as a feminist because she loves men and does not think taking away power from men and giving it to women is productive.
Though hers was an incredibly misguided perception of what feminism is (which is, in the very barest and simplest of terms, a movement for equality) her interview about White Bird in a Blizzard proves that she has feminist ideations, even if she doesn't consider herself a feminist. She went on to say: "Women should be there for other women. It's such cruelty and competition out there. Women must help other women." She's redeemed herself recently, too, in her New York Magazine cover story this summer, in which she discussed going against societal expectations in Hollywood.
It's Woodley's own prerogative whether or not she wants to identify as a feminist. Many women of color do not consider themselves feminist because mainstream feminism often ignores racial intersectionality, so who am I to dictate that Woodley MUST consider herself a feminist. Her words speak louder than... well, her words, though. She preaches and practices self-love and confidence, and since she's an up and coming young star, that's so important for all the girls that look up to her. Her misunderstanding of feminist identification can more be attributed to a general vilification of the movement as extremist, but that doesn't invalidate her actions and her words.
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